Loss of the Eendracht at Lowestoft, 1665

Loss of the Eendracht at Lowestoft, 1665

Loss of the Eendracht at Lowestoft, 1665

This detail from a contemporary sketch shows the moment when the Dutch flagship Eendracht exploded, late on in the battle of Lowestoft of 3 June 1665.

Picture reproduced courtesy of Seaforth Publishing, and can be found in The Four Days Battle of 1666, Frank L. Fox

The Four Days Battle of 1666, Frank L Fox. This is a detailed study of the longest major battle of the age of sail, using English and Dutch accounts of the fighting to produce a clear but detailed account of the battle, the events that led up to it and its aftermath. An excellent study of a battle often described as the 'Greatest Sea Fight of the Age of Sail', and one that came just as the old melee tactics were being replaced by the line of battle [read full review]


Product images of The Battle of Lowestoft, 3 June 1665, after the blowing up of the 'Eendracht'


Contents

See Battle of Lowestoft ship list for all the Dutch and English ships involved in the battle.

It is difficult to give a strictly coherent account of the battle. Whilst there is a wealth of historical sources, these have never been properly studied. The English found the behavior of 'foggy Opdam' (as they would sometimes call him) puzzling and ascribed all kinds of intentions to him that, in reality, he never had. After the defeat the surviving Dutch flag officers, in order to exonerate themselves, pretended their fleet had followed the original written orders, blaming misfortune and cowardice among the merchant captains for the disaster.

In the early morning of the 13th the Dutch fleet was positioned to the southeast of the English fleet. Most English historians have assumed Van Wassenaer (who on the 12 June had sent all of his silverware and other valuables home as to show how much confidence he had in himself) made a sudden dash to the west, trying to regain the weather gage, and the English beat him to it. If so, the wind must have been blowing from the southwest — otherwise there was no gain in this manoeuvre — but this makes it difficult to explain how the English fleet, sailing to the south, could be swifter than the Dutch. An alternative interpretation, more in accordance with the Dutch sources, would be that the wind was blowing from the northwest and Van Wassenaer tried to engage the English from a defensive leeward position, his favorite tactic. Indeed both fleets passed in opposite tack and then turned. During the turn the Great Charity (originally an Amsterdam Directors' ship the "Groote Liefde", captured during the Battle of Portland in 1653) became isolated and was boarded and captured by captain Jan de Haen, the later admiral, who immediately returned with his prize to the Netherlands, an obviously unsound practice that would be forbidden after this battle.

Portrait of the Battle of Lowestoft by Adriaen Van Diest, circa 1670s

Later an English victory tune "The Dutch Armado A Meer Bravado" declared: "Fortune was pleasant when she lent the Dutch our 'Charity' a thing they wanted much".

After this there was a second pass. Though the English had some trouble controlling these manoeuvres, the Dutch now completely failed to maintain a line of battle. In theory their being in a leeward position would have given their guns a superior range, allowing them to destroy from a safe distance the rigging of the English ships with chain-shot. In reality the several squadrons began to block each other's line of sight, those flagofficers and captains most hungry for battle left the less enthusiastic and older ships quickly behind, while company ships — never trained in these tactics — behaved as if no other vessels were present and this disorder caused a part of the English line to shift over some heavier Dutch ships who only just managed to escape to their main force. Later they would claim they had intentionally tried to directly attack the enemy in accordace with general orders. Some other ships happened to be in an optimal range for the English to concentrate their fire and took heavy damage. The young life of the commander of the Frisian fleet, Lieutenant-Admiral Auke Stellingwerf, was ended when he was shot in two. Veteran Lieutenant-Admiral Kortenaer, probably the most competent Dutch commander present, was fatally wounded in the hip by a cannonball. Quartermaster Ate Stinstra took command of Kortenaer's ship. Van Wassenaer now suspended the squadron command structure, hoping by placing all ships directly under his own guidance to bring some coherence to the Dutch force. This only added to the confusion however.

Again both fleets turned. And now something strange happened that has proven very difficult to explain. After the manoeuvre the English rear should obviously have been to the north of the centre. All sources agree however that it resulted in a reversed order of the English fleet in that the rearguard was now to the south of the centre. The traditional English solution to this riddle has been that their fleet tacked synchronously, i.e. each individual ship turned simultaneously to reverse fleet order, instead of turning one behind the other. If true that would have been a truly unique accomplishment for that age. Dutch sources suggest a different explanation: while executing the third turn the Dutch fleet lost all coherence because the wind suddenly turned to the southwest. It then slammed into the English van and centre. The English rear, avoiding the mass of confused ships, sailed behind the Dutch fleet to the south. A flotilla from the van then closed the trap completely, blocking the intended return to the Dutch coast. This scenario explains why all manoeuvring stopped and why some English flotillas clearly report trying to sail to the west, which would be inexplicable if they hadn't been to the east of the Dutch fleet.

If indeed surrounded the Dutch would have been in a hopeless position. The English main force to the west of them would have had the weather gage precluding boarding as a viable tactic. The English rear, firing from a leeward position, could have damaged the Dutch with impunity. As the Dutch had again the weather gauge in relation to the English rear, some of their ships wore to the east to attack it. Through such an action Montague's flagship was boarded and temporarily taken over by the crew of Oranje, commanded by captain Bastian Senten, who even raised the Dutch flag on the Prince Royal until Rupert himself in the Royal James came to the rescue retaking the ship. At that point, the entire battle seems to have degenerated into a gigantic shapeless mêlée. During these fights the Earl of Marlborough and the Earl of Portland perished. A few hours later around noon Montague raised the blue squadron flag on his mizen topmast - "A sign for my squadron to follow" - and indeed most captains of the English rear followed their leader when he went straight for the Dutch 'line' and broke through it (most likely he sailed through a gap) effectively dividing the Dutch fleet and surrounding part of it (if the traditional English scenario is true now for the first time a part only of the Dutch fleet was surrounded).

Apart from these positional problems the Dutch had a structural disadvantage: on average their guns were much lighter. Especially the eight largest English vessels were almost unsinkable themselves but could wreck the smallest Dutch ships with a single broadside. The larger Dutch vessels therefore tried to protect the little ones. The Dutch flagship Eendracht duelled the Royal Charles. James was nearly killed by a Dutch chain-shot decapitating several of his courtiers, The Hon. Richard Boyle (Son of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Burlington), The Viscount Muskerry and The Earl of Falmouth who was not very highly thought of, prompting the "poet of state affairs" (probably Andrew Marvell using the name of John Denham) to later declare: "His shatterd' head the fearless duke disdains, and gave the last first proof that he had brains". Around three in the afternoon the duel between the Royal Charles and the Eendracht ended abruptly when the Eendracht exploded, killing Van Obdam and all but five of the crew. Kortenaer was second in command though fatally wounded he hadn't died yet and the other Admirals were unaware of his condition. For hours the Dutch fleet was therefore without effective command. After the Eendracht had exploded, the English immediately became more aggressive, while many Dutch captains faltered: some Dutch ships already fled a little later, followed by Kortenaer's ship the Groot Hollandia now commanded by Stinstra. Needless too say all of this had a rather negative effect on Dutch morale. By evening most of the Dutch fleet was in full flight, save for 40 ships or so under Vice-Admiral Cornelis Tromp and Lieutenant-Admiral Johan Evertsen, both having assumed command (showing the utter confusion on the Dutch side), who made possible an escape and covered the flight, thus preventing complete catastrophe, though 16 more ships were lost. The English lost only one ship, the captured Great Charity mentioned above. Eight Dutch ships were sunk by the English six of these were burnt in two separate incidents when they got entangled while fleeing and set ablaze by a fire ship: this happened to the Tergoes entangling with the company ship the Maarseveen and the merchantman the Swanenburg and also to the Koevorden, the Stad Utrecht and the Prinse Maurits. The earlier mentioned company ship the Oranje exploded after being set on fire by another fire ship following many an attempt to block, board and enter the Charles in which she was prevented first by the Mary under captain Jeremiah Smith (the Mary would lose 99 men of its crew), one of York's seconds, and later by the Royal Oak, the Essex and the Royal Katherine. According to some the Oranje lost half of its crew of 400 before succumbing, a severely wounded Senten (rumoured to be an expatriate Scotsman) was picked up by an English vessel and shortly after succumbed himself. During the Dutch flight the English captured nine more ships: Hilversum, Delft, Zeelandia, Wapen van Edam and Jonge Prins the VOC-ship Nagelboom and the merchants Carolus Quintus, Mars and Geldersche Ruyter. Tromp was captured but escaped. Eight older ships had to be written off later, as the costs of repair would have exceeded their value.

The English had lost one flag officer: Rear-Admiral Robert Samsun, while Vice Admiral Lawson was mortally wounded. Notable English captains present at the battle included Captain of the Fleet William Penn in the Royal Charles, ex-buccaneer Christopher Myngs and George Ayscue. It has always been a mystery why the English fleet didn't at least try to pursue the Dutch. Several anecdotes are told to explain this. According to one Penn remarked to James that he was looking forward to the heavy fighting the next day — since he believed the Dutch were at their best when cornered. James, having narrowly escaped death already, then would have lost his nerve completely. Another legend has it that James's wife ordered Lord Henry Brouncker to keep her husband safe he obeyed by giving flagcaptain John Harman the false order to stop the Charles in the night. In any case the Royal Charles reduced sail in the course of the evening and the rest of the English fleet followed suit.

The outcome of the battle was partially caused by an inequality in firepower, but the Dutch had already embarked on an ambitious expansion programme, building many heavier ships. The English failed to take advantage of their victory. They never managed an effective blockade of the Dutch coast and couldn't prevent the VOC-fleet from returning from the Indies (Battle of Vågen). The fleets, now much more equal in quality, met again at the Four Days Battle in June 1666. ΐ]


Completed Maritime Subjects 11 comments Further information sought on the four-panel 'Battle of Sole Bay'.

It would be useful to know why the set of four paintings at Sandwich of which this is the first has the identification it does: it is also not by van de Velde the Younger, or apparently after any specific works by him, but I doubt an alternative artist would be identifiable.

This one shows a Dutch ship of two decks on fire, which did not occur at Solebay (the destruction by fire of the English 100-gun 3-decker flagship 'Royal James' of Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich – the vice-admiral of the blue squadron – and his resultant drowning being the sole large loss there this way: the 54-gun Dutch 'Jozua' just sank after capture). The rear squadron at Solebay was also an allied French one (flying Bourbon white) of which there is no sign.

The second panel of the series shows what appears to be James, Duke of York's 'Prince' (flying the royal standard) engaged with a Dutch flagship which may be flying the flag of the United Provinces: this might represent de Ruyter at Solebay (in 'Zeven Provincien') or – at the Battle of Lowestoft in 1665 – van Wassenaer in the 'Eendracht', which was there the major Dutch ship destroyed by fire and explosion (i.e. not an anonymous two decker as in the current panel). Another English vice-admiral's ship flies the Union – normally the sign of Prince Rupert at this point, who was only present at Lowestoft leading the white squadron (though the ship shown here flies red) and not so at Solebay. Significantly however, Sandwich too was also at Lowestoft as the rear commander and it was only there and at Solebay that the Duke of York personally commanded the fleet.

In sum, though the detail does not look at all accurate, the subject might be intended as Lowestoft rather than Solebay unless there is reason to know it is meant to be the latter. Both were English victories, but Lowestoft the more conclusive.

There are also four paintings of the visit of Catherine of Braganza to Sandwich (none maritime), probably by the same hand as the 'van de Veldes' and the Cinque Ports ships, and all equally wrongly attributed to him (simply not his subject in their case, let alone style issues).

All have decorative quality, but that's what they are about: artisan work of significant 'local connections' all probably broadly c.1700.

Have now looked: Thomas Dorman in 1883 ('Old Painted Panels at Sandwich' in Arch. Cant. vol. 15, pp. 142-47) did well to identify the date of the visit of Catherine of Braganza there as early May 1672, a few weeks before the Battle of Solebay was fought – but off the Suffolk, not Kent coast – so on grounds of date, and the Earl of Sandwich connection, there is a circumstantially implied connection, albeit no more than that: but the 'van de Velde' notions in his last paragraph – mainly general opinions of unspecified others in an area in which he expressly says he has no claim to authority can be discounted. Its the sort of fishing-for-names attribution that tended to occur in a period when theirs were the only ones generally known in this area. Perhaps the more interesting question, allowing it is a more artisan hand, is whether native English or 'Dutch school' and at what late 17th–early 18th century date?

It is worth noting for anyone who does not look at the Dorman paper (1883), that these panels were not painted for the Sandwich Guildhall –where they now are – but were found in some other house in the town.

'I find Pieter van der Merwe's observations very interesting and helpful in understanding these paintings and the others associated with it in the collection. I wonder if he and others have read the account of the paintings, their discovery and subsequent history online in Archaeologia Cantiana Vol 15 1883.

None of the panels are signed, but the letters 'P. P. P.' were identified on a flag in the 'Sole Bay' quartet. The representations online are no substitute for seeing the paintings themselves. Should anyone wish to visit the Sandwich Guildhall to examine any of the paintings they would be most welcome. Just contact the Guildhall ([email protected] )

'If, as seems likely, the paintings were commissioned by Mayor Bartholomew Coombes then they must be 17th century not 18th century. If, as also seems likely, they were painted by provincial artist, then one must ask how detailed was his knowledge of the events depicted, and if 'artistic licence' was favoured or requested where the burning Dutch ship is concerned. I feel we must rely on Navel Historians to judge how accurate the depiction of the two fleets may be. The collection would welcome all such views in order to tease out as many facts and interpretations as possible where the 'Sole Bay' and 'Catherine of Braganza' panels are concerned. I attach a detail of the 'Sole Bay' painting (left most panel of four) showing the flag bearing the three letters 'P'.'


Movie Review: Michiel de Ruyter by Gijs Rommelse

We would like to thank Dutch historian Gijs Rommelse for this review of the 2015 Dutch movie Michiel de Ruyter. This is the first entry of our Anglo-Dutch Wars project. This was previously posted on David Davies’ excellent new website JDDavies.com. David is also Live-tweeting the 2nd Anglo-Dutch War, at @QuintonJournals. The trailer for the movie (with english subtitles) can be found on Youtube.

A lieutenant-admiral in a naval battle, sabre in hand, swinging over on a rope to an English ship to personally kill a dozen enemies? Prince William III of Orange forcing De Ruyter, through blackmail and threats against his family, to sail to the Mediterranean to commit suicide in a battle against a larger French fleet, because the Prince, prompted by the Rotterdam schemer Johan Kievit, had come to regard the legendary naval commander as the heir of Johan de Witt’s republican heritage? The highly experienced French commander Abraham Duquesne fooled in a childishly simple way by De Ruyter, and sailing his entire squadron onto a sandbank at Kijkduin? Cornelis Tromp gradually developing from a jealous, undisciplined prima donna to a hidden admirer of De Ruyter? These are just some examples of the historical inaccuracies and fabrications which the screenwriters of the new film spectacle Michiel de Ruyter employ to dramatize the heroism and tragedy in the life of the famous naval hero for the general public.

In about two and a half hours, the film tells the story of the career of the great admiral from Flushing during the three Anglo-Dutch Wars (1652-1654, 1665-1667 and 1672-1674), and his eventual death at the hands of a French fleet in 1676. By placing De Ruyter on board Admiral Maarten Harpertsz Tromp’s flag ship Brederode moments before his demise during the Battle of Scheveningen (1653) and letting Tromp’s dying words be directed to him, the makers suggest that De Ruyter was sent by Tromp on a kind of sacred mission to be his successor and lead the Dutch fleet in battle. In reality, this would happen only in 1665, after De Ruyter’s predecessor Wassenaar van Obdam’s ship Eendracht had exploded during the Battle of Lowestoft.

The Battle of Lowestoft, 1665, by Van de Velde the elder (National Maritime Museum)

It is true that Johan de Witt, who in 1653 took office as pensionary of the province of Holland, recognized in De Ruyter a formidable talent, someone who would be particularly suitable as a fleet commander. The film rightly makes clear that De Witt played a crucial role in the professionalization of the fleet organization and the building of a strong standing navy. A series of defeats during the First Anglo-Dutch War had shown that the old model – a limited number of purpose-built warships supplemented for the occasion by a much larger number of converted merchant ships – was completely outdated. The great statesman managed to create political support for the ambitious naval construction programme through his extensive network and also organized the financial resources required for this. Incidentally, the film also rightly raises the point that the construction of the standing navy was very much at the expense of the land army, and thus facilitated the invasion by the armies of Louis XIV in 1672. As the film reveals, in fact it was De Ruyter who repeatedly repelled the principal threat posed by the British and French, and thus played a crucial role in the survival of the Republic as an independent state.

Looking at the film, one would get the impression that the career of De Ruyter lasted only a few months, or at most two or three years. The admiral himself, played by Frank Lammers, and his wife and children, never appear a day older. This is because the political and military ramifications of the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars are essentially telescoped into one conflict. It is also striking that one of De Ruyter’s most famous feats is entirely missing from the film: namely, the reconquest of the slave stations of the West India Company (WIC) on the West African coast in 1664-1665. It was this voyage that led activists noisily to disrupt the gala premiere of the film on 26 January 2015 at the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam. According to their banners, De Ruyter was a ruthless advocate of slavery. Far-fetched and slightly unhistorical as this accusation might be, the noise of this protest did provide a nice counterbalance to the uncritical worship which De Ruyter invariably receives, and still enjoys in Dutch naval circles. The Royal Netherlands Navy was one of the partners of the production Farmhouse Film & TV.

De Ruyter’s funeral procession, Amsterdam, 1677

Particularly interesting in the film is the role of De Ruyter in the political struggle between the republicans, headed by the brothers Johan and Cornelis de Witt, and Orangists seeking the elevation of Prince William III. In the film, De Ruyter is shown as a good friend of the republican brothers moreover, his naval successes formed an essential pillar for their regime. By contrast, in the most authoritative Dutch literature, most notably the biography by Ronald Prud’homme van Reine, De Ruyter is presented as someone standing more or less outside the political fray, a man who had respect for De Witt and worked together with him, but who otherwise was really only interested in the fortunes of the dear fatherland. This picture seems to have carried over from 19th century studies, which were particularly interested in the glorious deeds of illustrious heroes, and a De Ruyter who was an opponent of Orangism would not fit this image. Interestingly, David Davies recently argued, in an English-language collection of essays on De Ruyter’s life, that far too little attention has been focused on his political role. The film is actually making this same point, although the film-makers were probably just trying to create a villainous opponent to make the story interesting for the viewer, rather than offering a serious reinterpretation. Anyway, maybe it is time that the history of the Dutch fleet in the 17th century should be seen explicitly through a prism of political ideology and polarization.

Finally, it should be noted that the viewer is treated to spectacular battle scenes with sizeable fleets, attractive locations, and a lavish view of the social, economic and religious life of the Dutch Golden Age.


The British Fleet at the Battle of the Texel / Kijkduin 11/21 August, 1673

This article from Dr JD Davies is part of our Anglo-Dutch Wars Series. David discusses The Battle of the Texel, a major turning point in the Third Anglo-Dutch War. This is a fascinating example how medieval English military practices persisted to nearly the 18th century.

The Battle of the Texel, known to the Dutch as the Battle of Kijkduin, was fought on 11 August (Old Style) 1673, when a combined Anglo-French fleet of eighty-six ships of the line under the command of Prince Rupert of the Rhine confronted a Dutch fleet of sixty under Michiel Adrianszoon De Ruyter. i It was not a decisive action no ships were lost on either side, and in one sense, it was simply the third and last in a series of confused and inconclusive actions that took place in the summer of 1673. It was not the largest or most dramatic action of the three Anglo-Dutch wars that were fought during the third quarter of the seventeenth century. It lacked the brutal destruction of one side by the other that characterised the Battle of the Gabbard (1653), or the shocking drama of the explosion that obliterated the Dutch flagship Eendracht at the Battle of Lowestoft (1665). It was not on the same scale as the Four Days’ Battle of 1666, the largest, longest, and most terrible action fought in the entire sailing ship era. It contained no tragic sacrifice to match the deaths of the Earl of Sandwich, Admiral of the Blue Squadron, and many of his men, when the flagship Royal James was burned by a fireship during the Battle of Solebay (1672) the death of Sandwich’s successor, Sir Edward Spragge, at the Battle of the Texel, took place in almost farcical circumstances, when the longboat taking him from his shattered flagship to a new command was hit and sunk, and was a consequence of his own vanity and disregard for orders. At first sight, then, the Texel hardly seems an obvious subject for detailed study.

For contemporaries in the British Isles, though, the battle was notable for one reason above all: the belief that the French squadron deliberately stood apart from the fighting, allegedly because it had secret orders from King Louis XIV to do just that. It was certainly true that the French made little attempt to engage, became separated from the main action, and ignored repeated attempts to get them to join the melee. Even the second-in-command of the French gave credit to the story that his superior had ordered the squadron to stand apart, thereby permitting more Dutch ships to deploy against the two British squadrons. The subsequent popular outcry against the French contributed to the downfall of a government (King Charles II’s ‘cabal’ ministers) this was one of the first occasions when public opinion clearly forced a British government entirely to change the direction of its policies and abandon an unpopular war, a theme with not a little contemporary resonance. The battle thus marked the decisive downfall of the controversial and much-debated diplomacy of Charles II that produced the secret Treaty of Dover (1670), with its explosive promise to restore Catholicism to England.

The battle, and specifically the behaviour of the French squadron, was undoubtedly one of the most significant single incidents in convincing English popular opinion that the French, rather than the Dutch, had become the undoubted and natural national enemy. The widespread popular belief in French duplicity, both at the Texel and during the third Anglo-Dutch war as a whole, exacerbated already negative perceptions of France, and contributed in large part to the growth of virulent popular francophobia in the 1670s and 1680s. In later years, the assumption that the French had failed to support the British squadrons at the Texel – at best thanks to incompetence, at worst because of conspiracy – was central to all accounts of the battle in standard naval histories. When he contemplated the battle, the Victorian naval journalist David Hannay condemned ‘the entire worthlessness of the French as allies’, and this condescending, xenophobic attitude was common in British naval histories of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. ii More recently, Stephen Baxter and Carl Ekberg have seen the battle of the Texel as one of the most significant factors in both the collapse of the Anglo-French alliance and the survival of the Dutch state itself, with Baxter calling it ‘the turning point of the war’. iii Both Ronald Hutton and John Miller have set the battle in the context of the complex domestic and international realpolitik which existed in the second half of 1673 and the early months of 1674, while Stephen Pincus has seen it as a critical stage in the shift of English popular attitudes towards an anti-French stance. iv

The battle of the Texel also formed the culmination of a virtually unknown British campaign to invade the Netherlands, itself a consequence of Charles II’s Dover diplomacy. This proved to be the last occasion in history when a primarily English army was assembled with the serious and avowed intention of invading mainland Europe to permanently annex territory there: in that sense, 1673 witnessed the last ‘medieval’ campaign of conquest in the old tradition of the Angevins, Henry V and Henry VIII. v However, the existence of a powerful invasion army on English soil generated profound suspicions in Parliament and elsewhere, and helped fuel the growing perception that an army controlled by Stuart kings was bound to be a vehicle for imposing arbitrary power on the country. vi More debatably, the Texel can also be seen as the last battle in which the entire existence of an independent Dutch nation was in doubt. The brilliant defensive tactics employed by Admiral Michiel De Ruyter during the 1673 campaign against a foe that was much stronger numerically is one of the classics of naval history, and also ensured the survival of his country. Indeed, on 11 August De Ruyter only gave battle reluctantly, and only because he was effectively forced to do so by pressure from a number of influential mercantile and political interests, notably that of William, Prince of Orange, the future King William III of England. The burden of history was against De Ruyter: in exactly the same confined waters, twenty years before almost to the day, the Dutch navy had suffered one of its most cataclysmic defeats, culminating in the death of its iconic admiral, Maerten Harpertszoon Tromp. De Ruyter had been a commodore in that battle, and would have known better than anyone the stakes for which he fought. vii

The Battle of the Texel was the last fought by both Prince Rupert of the Rhine, once the glamorous cavalier general of the civil wars, viii and by his abrasive Irish second-in-command, Sir Edward Spragge. The relationship between Rupert and Spragge was fraught, both before and during the battle indeed, even after Spragge’s death his friends continued their quest to redeem their old admiral’s reputation by pulling down that of the prince they hated. This proved to be the climax of a vicious squabble between different factions within the officer corps, factions that reflected broader alignments at court and in the country at large. The battle contained no individual moments of high drama or heroism that entered popular folklore, but this is probably because of the controversy surrounding the French and the simple fact that it was the last battle of a deeply detested war. Nevertheless, several incidents within the battle were on a truly heroic scale: above all, the gallant defence put up against seemingly overwhelming odds by the crew of the shattered Prince , commanded by an inexperienced lieutenant, was an epic of its kind, and deserves to be better known. The battle effectively turned on the inadequacies of the signalling system in place at the time, and on a series of much-debated and, in some cases, much-criticised tactical decisions made by Rupert, De Ruyter and their subordinate commanders.

However, to understand this battle properly – as, indeed, is the case with every naval battle – it is essential to know exactly which ships were where. But one of the principal difficulties with many accounts of the battle of the Texel is a lack of certainty about the actual composition of the British fleet, let alone its dispositions. Even general lists of individual squadrons do not provide an entirely satisfactory picture, given the importance of knowing where particular ships lay in the line-of-battle to any attempt to understand accounts penned on board those ships. An attempt to assemble a reasonably comprehensive list of the British fleet was made by R C Anderson in his Journals and Narratives of the Third Dutch War (Navy Records Society, 1946), but this exercise suffered from the circumstances in which it was produced Anderson assembled his material during and just after the second world war, when both the (then) Public Record Office and the British Library were inaccessible to researchers, and his remark that ‘it is probable…that they would not add very much further information’ has proved to be well wide of the mark. 9 At the National Archives, Kew, ADM 8/1 (disposition book, 1673-89) provides a list of the blue and red squadrons on both 1 July and 1 August 1673, although the latter is out of place in the volume. 10 PRO 30/24/5 (Shaftesbury papers) contains a list of the fleet, in squadrons and divisions, for 31 July, although this contains some inaccuracies – for example, it lists the fifth rate Pearl twice and includes the Algier , which had been lost a fortnight earlier, while it also includes the Constant Warwick and Antelope within the line of battle (both had been detached to escort home prizes before the battle of the Texel). These sources can be supplemented from the lists in British Library, Sloane MS 2032, fos 6-8 (lists of the red and blue squadrons, undated but within 1673) and by BL Additional MS 34,729, fos 160-2, rough lists endorsed ‘line of battle’. From internal evidence, it is clear that the list given at fos 160-1, although not entirely complete or accurate, closely resembles the fleet which fought at the battle of the Texel.

These written sources can be supplemented by examination of the van de Velde drawings of the battle, and this sort of detailed analysis has been carried out by Frank Fox, the author of Great Ships: The Battlefleet of King Charles II and The Four Days Battle of 1666. The drawings reveal thatsome ships lost their place when the fleet first tacked. The St George, an old, heavy sailer, fell back into Kempthorne’s division, which is presumably why she came up on the Prince from astern and was thus available for the transfer of Sir Edward Spragge’s flag that took place during the battle. In the same drawing, the Royal Charles is shown right alongside the Prince, thus leaving open the question of whether she belonged ahead or astern of her in the line.

By using the drawings, the manuscripts, and the occasional references to the order of ships within individual accounts of the battle, it has been possible both to correct some of Anderson’s conjectures about the composition of the fleet and to present a more complete list of that fleet in its line-of-battle. In all, Anderson wrongly suggested that the Leopard (actually in the Mediterranean) and Portland (actually in the Caribbean) could have been present at the Texel the York, Advice, Pearl and Lion were allocated to the wrong squadrons and fourteen ships were not allocated to squadrons at all. In the following amended list, only points of contention between the main sources listed above have been enumerated, together with those instances when the placing of a ship is based on evidence contained within ships’ journals rather than the main sources. Fireships expended during the engagement are indicated with an asterisk. Ships are listed in their sailing order within the line-of-battle, from van to rear of each of the English squadrons. The numbers of guns cited are those given in ADM8/1, which are often different from those supplied by Anderson. For example, some ships, such as the Fairfax, were certainly armed beyond their nominal establishment, while two views of the Lion, drawn at Portsmouth in 1673, show 70 guns.

THE RED SQUADRON
VICE-ADMIRAL’S DIVISION


Naval/Maritime History 22nd of June - Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History

HMS Winchester was a 60-gun fourth rate ship of the line of the English Royal Navy, launched at Bursledon on 11 April 1693.

In 1695, Winchester foundered on Carysfort Reef in the Florida Keys and was lost. The remains of the wreck—now consisting of nothing more than cannonballs—were discovered in 1938 lying approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southwest of the Carysfort Reef Light.


1728 – Launch of French Triton 60 (launched 11 April 1728 at Brest, designed and built by Laurent Hélie) - condemned 1745 and taken to pieces.


1806 – Launch of HMS Cuckoo and HMS Woodcock, both Cuckoo-class schooner of four 12-pounder carronades and a crew of 20.

HMS Cuckoo was a Royal Navy Cuckoo-class schooner of four 12-pounder carronades and a crew of 20. She was built by James Lovewell at Great Yarmouth and launched in 1806. Like many of her class and the related Ballahoo-class schooners, she succumbed to the perils of the sea relatively early in her career.

HMS Woodcock was a Royal Navy Cuckoo-class schooner of four 12-pounder carronades and a crew of 20. Crane & Holmes built and launched her at Great Yarmouth in 1806. Like many of her class and the related Ballahoo-class schooners, she succumbed to the perils of the sea relatively early in her career.
She was commissioned in 1806 under Lieutenant Isaac Charles Smith Collett. She was wrecked 13 February 1807 at Vila Franca do Campo, São Miguel in the Azores. She and her sister ship Wagtail had anchored there when a gale came up. Because of the storm it was impossible to clear the land and at 5pm Collett ran her ashore after her anchors had parted and water was continuously washing over her. Lines were passed to the shore and all her crew made it safely to land. Wagtail was wrecked three hours later.


Scale: 1:48. A plan showing body plan with stern board outline, sheer lines with inboard detail, and longitudinal half-breadth of 'Haddock' (1805), a four to six gun schooner, as taken off in October 1805 and modified on her refit. This plan was used for the subsequent Cuckoo class of gun schooners (1805) consisting of 'Magpie' (1806), 'Jackdaw' (1806), 'Cuckoo' (1806), 'Wagtail' (1806), 'Woodcock' (1806), 'Wigeon' (1806), 'Sealark' (1806), 'Rook' (1806), 'Landrail' (1806), 'Pigeon' (1806), 'Crane' (1806), 'Quail' (1806).


1808 – Launch of Amphitrite was a 44-gun Armide class frigate of the French Navy.

The Amphitrite was a 44-gun Armide class frigate of the French Navy.
Amphitrite, under frigate captain Trobriand, departed Cherbourg for Martinique on 10 November 1808, along with Vénus, Junon, Cygne and Papillon, under contre-amiral Hamelin. The next day, the squadron broke apart.
Amphitrite arrived at Fort de France, only to find it blockaded by the Royal Navy. She managed to slip through and reach the harbour. On 3 February, as the British attacked Martinique, the Amphitrite was scuttled to prevent her capture.
In 1960, construction work of a modern commerce harbour in Fort de France uncovered the bottom of the hull of Amphitrite. Copper sheets of the hull and other fragments were recovered and are now on display at the Service Régional de l'Archéologie.

sistership

Portrait of Pénélope by François-Geoffroi Roux

Armide-class frigate - Wikipedia

1812 – Launch of HMS Clarence, a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 11 April 1812 at Turnchapel.

HMS Clarence was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 11 April 1812 at Turnchapel.
Clarence was among a number of vessels that shared in the proceeds of the recapture of Wolf's Cove on 1 December 1813.
In 1826 Clarence was re-rated as a fourth rate, and was broken up in 1828.


Scale: 1:48. Contemporary copy of a plan showing the body plan, sheer lines, and longitudinal half-breadth for 'Conquestadore' (1810), 'Armada' (1810), 'Vigo' (1810), 'Cressey' (1810), 'La Hogue' (1811), 'Vindictive' (1813), 'Poictiers' (1809), 'Vengeur' (1810), 'Edinburgh' (1811), 'Dublin' (1812), 'Duncan' (1811), 'Indus' (1812), 'Rodney' (1809), 'Cornwall' (1812), 'Redoutable' (1815), 'Anson' (1812), 'Agincourt' (1817), 'Ajax' (1809), 'America' (1810), 'Barham' (1811), 'Benbow' (1813), 'Berwick' (1809), 'Blenheim' (1813), 'Clarence' (1812), 'Defence' (1815), 'Devonshire' (1812), 'Egmont' (1810), 'Hercules' (1815), 'Medway' (1812), 'Pembroke' (1812), 'Pitt' (1816), 'Russell' (1822), 'Scarborough' (1812), 'Stirling Castle' (1811), 'Wellington' (1816), 'Mulgrave' (1812), 'Gloucester' (1812), all 74-gun Third Rate, two-deckers. The plan includes alterations for a rounded bow and circular stern.


Scale: 1:16. Plan showing a part midship section for 74-gun ships, illustrating the chocks, flat iron knees, and fastenings for attaching the deck beams to the sides, and later altered in 1811. The plan was later used for 'Conquestadore' (1810), 'Scarborough' (1812), 'Stirling Castle' (1811), 'Clarence' (1812), 'Niger' (1813), 'Rippon' (1812), 'Vengeur' (1810), 'Aisa' (1811), 'Gloucester' (18712), 'Vindictive' (1813), and Unamed (to be built in Rio de Janeiro, cancelled 1809).


1815 – Launch of French Cybele, Pallas class, (launched 11 April 1815 at Le Havre) – renamed Remise 1850.

Pallas-class frigate (1808) - Wikipedia

1822 - Eine osmanische Flotte landet auf der Insel Chios im Ägäischen Meer und richtet ein Massaker unter den griechischen Einwohnern an. Der größere Teil der Bewohner wird in die Sklaverei verschleppt. Die einzigen, die vorläufig verschont werden, sind die Mastix-Bauern. Das Massaker ist eine Reaktion auf den Unabhängigkeitskampf aller Griechen.


1823 – Launch of french Magicienne (launched 11 April 1823 at Rochefort) – deleted 29 November 1840.

Armide-class frigate - Wikipedia

1941 Sava, Vardar and Morava – On 11 April 1941, during the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia, the crews of the three Yugoslav river monitors scuttled their vessels and were transshipped to two tugboats, one of which was destroyed after a bridge fell onto it, killing 95 of the 110 men aboard.


SMS Bodrog on the Danube river in 1914

SMS Körös - Wikipedia

2002 - the ferry MV Maria Carmela caught fire while traveling from Masbate to Quezon province. After burning for three days the ship sank off Pagbilao island in Quezon. Of those on board 44 were killed in the incident.

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Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
12 April 1655 – Launch of HMS Royal Charles, an 80-gun first-rate three-decker ship of the line of the English Navy.


Royal Charles was an 80-gun first-rate three-decker ship of the line of the English Navy. She was built by Peter Pett and launched at Woolwich Dockyardin 1655, for the navy of the Commonwealth of England. She was originally called Naseby, named in honour of Sir Thomas Fairfax's decisive 1645 victory over the Royalist forces during the English Civil Wars. She was ordered in 1654 as one of a programme of four second rates, intended to carry 60 guns each. However, she was altered during construction to mount a complete battery of guns along the upper deck (compared with the partial battery on this deck of her intended sisters, on which there were no gunports in the waist along this deck), and so was reclassed as a first rate.


Royal Charles off Hellevoetsluis, captured by the Dutch after the Raid on the Medway, June 1667. Jeronymus van Diest (II).

In the run-up to the Restoration of the monarchy in May (June, New Style) of 1660, she was anchored in The Downs off Deal, where her laurel-crowned figurehead of Oliver Cromwell was removed before sailing to the Dutch Republic at the head of the fleet sent to bring King Charles II back to England, captained by Sir Edward Montagu and still under her Parliamentary name. On arrival in Scheveningen she was renamed HMS Royal Charles and took Charles and his entourage (including Samuel Pepys) on board, landing them at Dover.

Under her new name, she thus joined the Royal Navy, which formally came into being in 1660. At 1,229 tons, Naseby was larger than Sovereign of the Seas, the first three-deck ship of the line, built by Phineas Pett, Peter's father. Unlike Sovereign of the Seas, which was in service from 1637 to 1697, Naseby was to enjoy only twelve years in service.

As Royal Charles she took part in the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1665, she fought in the Battle of Lowestoft under the command of the Lord High Admiral, James Stuart, Duke of York, her captain being Sir William Penn. During that battle she probably destroyed the Dutch flagship Eendracht. In 1666, she participated in two further actions, the Four Days Battle and the defeat of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter in the St. James's Day Battle off the North Foreland.


The painting Dutch attack on the Medway, June 1667 by Pieter Cornelisz van Soest, painted c. 1667 shows the captured Royal Charles, right of centre


The stern piece preserved at Amsterdam

In 1667, flagging English national morale was further depressed by the Raid on the Medway in which a Dutch fleet invaded the Thames and Medway rivers and on 12 June captured the uncommissioned Royal Charles, removing her with great skill to Hellevoetsluis in the United Provinces. The Dutch did not take her into naval service because it was considered that she drew too much water for general use on the Dutch coast. Instead the Royal Charles was permanently drydocked near Hellevoetsluis as a tourist attraction, with day trips being organised for large parties, often of foreign state guests. After vehement protests by Charles that this insulted his honour, the official visits were ended when she was auctioned for scrap in 1673.

The wooden carving showing the royal arms, originally placed on the ship's transom, was, however, preserved. After remaining at Hellevoetsluis for a while, it was brought to a naval shipbuilding yard in Rotterdam in the nineteenth century, and in 1855 was transferred to the Dutch navy's model collection. It is now on display in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, which took most of the naval collection in the 1880s.


Scale: 1:48. Full hull model made in the Navy Board style, thought to be the 'Naseby' (1655), an 80-86 gun ship, three-decker ship of the line. The hull shape is typical of that of a 17th century warship with a fair amount of sheer and tumblehome. The model is partly decked, rigged and made plank on frame. The hull is left unplanked below the waterline, and the framing system is typical of that of the Navy Board style, with floor timbers spanning the keel transversely and futtocks scarphed above. Along the sides of the hull are paired open mainwales painted black. The stern is round tucked and decorated with elaborate stern carvings. The stern carving features the cross of St. George with a belt bearing the Commonwealth motto ‘Pax quaeritur bello’ (peace is sought by war). The model is square rigged, with a sprit sail, sprit topsail and the mizzen mast is rigged with a bonaventure sail. The model was made by Robert Spence in 1943 using contemporary drawings of the ship combined with her recorded dimensions. In addition, the lines were taken from an English three-decker model of similar date in the Maritime Museum, Stockholm, Sweden. The original full-sized ship measured 161 feet in length by 42 feet in the beam and 1000 tons burden, the ‘Naseby’ was built in Woolwich Dockyard and named to commemorate the Parliamentary victory of 1645 during the English Civil War. The ‘Naseby’ was renamed 'Royal Charles' by Charles II, after the ship was used to transport him back to England from Dutch exile at his Restoration in 1660. The ‘Royal Charles’ was the flagship in the many actions against the Dutch fleet but in 1667 was seized by the Dutch in their famous raid on the Medway and taken back to Holland before eventually being broken up in 1673. The post-1660 English royal arms from the stern of the full-sized ship are in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, having been retained as a trophy when the vessel was broken up in 1673.


This etching, signed and dated '1911' by the artist, shows Charles II and Pepys in the aft of a boat, with the stern of the 'Royal Charles' behind. Charles, on the left, and Pepys on the right, are both shown from the front, both hatted. Charles has his right hand on a cane. The scene depicted is the final stage of the voyage of Charles II back to England. Pepys accompanied Lord Sandwich on the 'Naseby' to Holland to convey the King back to England to restore the Monarchy. The 'Naseby', and 80-gun ship launched in 1655 , with its Civil War connotations, was renamed the 'Royal Charles' in 1660 in honour of the new king. Interestingly, the ship depicted is in fact a smaller two-decker, shown with a square-tuck stern, although the model of the 'Naseby' (SLR0001) made by Robert Spence in 1943 has a round-tuck stern.


Charles II journeyed by road and water from Breda to The Hague. After a short stay there, he went on to Scheveningen and on 23 May [OS]/2 June 1660, standing in a pink on the crowded shore, he took leave of Elisabeth of Bohemia, the Princess Royal, the young Prince of Orange and the States deputies. Then in Sandwich’s barge he went on board the ‘Naseby’, which he renamed the ‘Royal Charles’ before sailing with the fleet for England. This drawing features the ‘Royal Charles’ viewed from the weather quarter, close-hauled on the starboard tack, under fore course, mizzen and topsails. The royal standard is at the main and streamers are at the yardarms. It is an accurate drawing but with disfiguring corrections, made probably as the ship left the Dutch coast with the Restoration squadron. The tafferel (upper stern) decoration is not shown in detail but appears to include a roundel with a suggestion of a bust length figure, and was undoubtedly originally emblematic of the Commonwealth, for whom the ship was built. The substantially intact royal arms which decorated the tafferel when the Dutch seized the 'Royal Charles' in the notorious Medway Raid of 1667, and which survive today in the Rijkmuseum, Amsterdam, were installed in a post-Restoration re-fit. They are shown in Ludolf Backhuysen's painting of the ship being carried into Dutch waters at that time (BHC0292), which takes practically the same viewpoint as this drawing


The battle of Lowestoft was the first fleet action of the Second Dutch War, 1665–67, and resulted in a Dutch defeat with a loss of about 30 ships. In this initial fleet engagement both sides had over a 100 sail. The action began at 3.30 and continued until 1900 by which time the Dutch were in flight with 17 ships sunk or captured. Following action with the ‘Royal Charles’, with HRH the Duke of York on board, the principal Dutch flagship the ‘Eendracht’ blew up, killing her admiral Lieutenant -Admiral Jan van Wassenaer Heer van Obdam. Of a crew of over 400 only five survived. This painting was probably painted shortly after the battle and shows the action between the 'Royal Charles' and the 'Eendracht' from the Dutch perspective. The left foreground is dominated by the duelling flagships of the two commanders-in-chief. On the left is the ‘Royal Charles’, with the Duke of York on board, and the Royal crest is shown carved on her stern. A small boat is connected to the ship by a rope held by two men and other men can be seen working in the rigging. In very close action to the right is the ‘Eendracht’ with the carved lion visible on her stern, and flying the Dutch flag and ensign, just before she blew up. The painting inaccurately gives the English flagship ‘Royal Charles’ a Dutch stern, with a square tuck and gallery.


Dutch in the Medway. Capture of the Royal Charles June 1667 (PAF4520)


An unsigned drawing by the Elder, viewed from before the starboard beam. It is inscribed ‘de nasby [? London written over] / nu de carolus’ (The Naseby, now the Charles). This drawing is an offset, probably not in reverse since no entering port is shown. The offset has been rubbed on the back, worked up rapidly and not very accurately with a pencil and a little wash. The ‘Naseby’ was the flagship of the Restoration squadron in 1660, and the original drawing was no doubt made at this time, with the offset being taken soon afterwards. There is a drawing of the ‘Royal Charles’ viewed from the starboard quarter in the Scheepvaart Museum, Amsterdam

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Today in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
12 April 1782 - Battle of Providien. British fleet under Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes engaged a French fleet under the Bailli de Suffren near a rocky islet called Providien, south of Trincomalee, Ceylon.


The Battle of Providien was the second in a series of naval battles fought between a British fleet, under Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, and a French fleet, under the Bailli de Suffren, off the coast of India during the Anglo-French War. The battle was fought on 12 April 1782 off the east coast of Ceylon, near a rocky islet called Providien, south of Trincomalee.


Plan of the battle of Providien

Background
In 1778, France had entered the American Revolutionary War and in 1780 Britain declared war on the Dutch Republic after the Dutch refused to stop trading military supplies with France and America. The British had rapidly gained control over most French and Dutch outposts in India when news of these events reached India, spawning the Second Anglo-Mysore War in the process.

In March 1781, French Admiral Bailli de Suffren was dispatched on a mission to provide military assistance to French colonies in India, leading a fleet of five ships, seven transports, and a corvette to escort the transports from Brest. After a happenstance battle with the British fleet at Porto Praya in the Cape Verde Islands in April, the French fleet stopped at the Dutch-controlled Cape of Good Hope in October. Troops were left to assist the Dutch in defence of that colony while the fleet was reinforced by additional ships with command transferred to the elderly Admiral Thomas d'Estienne d'Orves. The French fleet sailed on to Île de France (now Mauritius), arriving at Port Louis in December. They then sailed for India with transports that carried nearly 3,000 men under the command of the Comte du Chemin. D'Orves died in February 1782, shortly before the fleet arrived off the Indian coast, and Suffren resumed command.

Suffren first sailed for Madras, hoping to surprise the British stronghold. When he found the fleet of Sir Edward Hughes anchored there on 15 February 1782, he turned south with the intent of landing troops at Porto Novo, hoping to march up the coast and recapture French and Dutch holdings on the way. Hughes raised anchor and sailed after Suffren. In the Battle of Sadras, both fleets suffered damage without loss of ships, but the French were able to safely land troops at Porto Novo to assist the Mysoreans. Suffren made repairs to his fleet at Pondicherry after that battle on 23 February, he sailed out to find Hughes, who had gone to Trincomalee for repairs.

On 8 April, Hughes' fleet was spotted heading for Trincomalee. Suffren gave chase, but was unable to close for three days. Hughes had to change course on 12 April to continue toward Trincomalee, which gave Suffren the advantage of the wind.

Battle
The battle lines engaged at about 12:30 pm. Initially, some of Suffren's captains hesitated, not immediately joining in the line (as had also happened at Sadras), but eventually ten of his twelve ships were engaged against the eleven British ships. Monmouth was the first ship to quit the British line after being dismasted, and Superb also suffered significant damage in the early rounds. Hughes was able to regain advantage by ordering his fleet to wear ship, and the battle began to turn against the French. Around 6 pm, a storm arose the combatants, close to a lee shore, broke off the battle to attend to the risks the storm presented. Darkness from the storm and then nightfall precluded further battle that day.

Aftermath
The fleets had anchored near enough to each other that Suffren again positioned for battle. Hughes, however, had a convoy to protect, and sailed for Trincomalee. Suffren sailed south and anchored at Batticaloa, which was still under Dutch control, where he spent six weeks for repairs and resupply. While there, he received orders to sail to Île de France (Mauritius) to escort another troop convoy. Suffren chose to disregard this order, as the risk posed by Hughes to French operations required his full strength, and he could not trust his captains. The captains of Vengeur and Artésien, the two ships that stayed out of the action, were reported for their failure to obey orders, and his second-in-command was intriguing with some of the other captains against him.

HMS Monmouth was an Intrepid-class 64-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 18 April 1772 at Plymouth.


Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines, and longitudinal half-breadth proposed (and approved) for building Monmouth (1772), a 64-gun Third Rate, two-decker. The plan includes a mast and yard dimension table. Signed by John Williams [Surveyor of the Navy, 1765-1784]

She was not immediately commissioned for service, but went on to serve during the American War of Independence in a number of theatres. She was initially in the Caribbean, where she fought at the Battle of Grenada, before returning to Britain to join a special expedition under Commodore George Johnstone, to capture the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope. The expedition was surprised by a French fleet at the Battle of Porto Praya and though Johnstone was able to go on and capture several Dutch merchants in the Battle of Saldanha Bay, he did not attempt to attack the Cape. Monmouth, under her Captain James Alms, was sent on with several other warships to reinforce the East Indies station, and she went on to fight in a number of actions under Sir Edward Hughes against French fleets under the Bailli de Suffren. She returned to Britain on the conclusion of the wars and saw no further active service. Renamed Captivity and used as a prison ship from 1796, she served out the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, and was broken up in 1818.

East Indies service

Depiction of the Battle of Trincomalee by Dominic Serres

Alms struggled with adverse winds and high incidences of sickness, eventually forcing him to leave the troopships on the coast of Arabia to bring his warships to reach India in time for the campaigning season. The British fleet rendezvoused with Sir Edward Hughes at Madras on 11 February 1782, and Monmouth went on to be involved in a number of indecisive clashes between Hughes and the Bailli de Suffren at Sadras on 17 February, Providien on 12 April, Negapatam on 6 July, and Trincomalee on 3 September 1782.

Monmouth had a particularly important part in the battle Providien, when she was the second ship in the line to Sir Edward's flagship. At one point in the action, Alms saw that Suffren had put up his helm with a view of boarding Hughes's ship, and brought Monmouth about to defend his commander, the ship receiving heavy fire as he did so. In this engagement, the Monmouth had seven guns dismounted,—the wheel twice cleared,—and two seamen only, besides the captain, left alive on the quarter-deck. Forty-five men were killed, and one hundred and two wounded. Alms himself received two splinter-wounds in the face, and two musket-balls went through his hat.

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T oday in Naval History - Naval / Maritime Events in History
12 April 1797 – Launch of HMS Sirius, a 36-gun fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. Between 1797 and 1805,


HMS Sirius
was a 36-gun fifth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. Between 1797 and 1805, the Sirius was engaged in maintaining the blockade of Napoleonic Europe. She was lost in 1810 when her crew scuttled her after she grounded during the Battle of Grand Port.


The Sirius stranded on a coral shoal. Lithograph by A. Meyer (National Maritime Museum, London)

Design

Sirius general arrangement plan (National Maritime Museum, Greenwich)

The Admiralty ordered her construction on 30 April 1795, and the keel was laid at the Dudman's yard at Deptford Wharf in September of that year. She was launched on 12 April 1797. The Sirius class of 1795 was established following the taking of the San Fiorenzo from the Spanish in 1794, upon whose lines this frigate was based.

French Revolutionary Wars
Sirius was commissioned in May 1797 under the command of Captain Richard King. In her first action on 24 October 1798 Sirius took two Dutch ships, the Waakzaamheid and the Furie in the Texel. Waakzaamheid was under the command of Senior Captain Neirrop. She was armed with twenty-four 9-pounder guns on her main deck and two 6-pounders on her forecastle. She had 100 Dutch seamen aboard her, as well as 122 French troops, and was carrying 2000 stands of arms as well as other ordnance stores. Waakzaamheid put up no struggle. The sloop Kite shared in the capture.


Capture of the Furie & Waakzamheid, 23 October 1798 / Thomas Whitcombe, 1816.

Furie was armed with twenty-six 12-pounders on her main deck and ten 6-pounders on her quarter-deck and forecastle. She had a crew of 153 Dutch seamen, augmented with 165 French soldiers. She was carrying 4,000 stands of arms as well as other ordnance stores. Furie did exchange fire with Sirius for about half an hour. Sirius had only one man wounded. Furie had eight men killed and 14 wounded. The sloop Martin and the hired armed cutter Diligent shared in the proceeds of the capture.

Sirius was among the vessels that shared in the capture on 25 and 28 November of a French brig and sloop. The British vessels included Clyde, Fisguard, and Sylph, as well as the hired armed cutters Joseph, Fowey and Dolly.

Then on 6 January 1800 Sirius shared with Defiance, Unicorn, Indefatigable and Stag in the capture of the French brig Ursule.

On 12 June Sirius and Indefatigable captured the French privateer Vengeur. She was armed with six long 4-pounders and ten 18-pounder carronades, and carried a crew of 102 men. She was two days out of Bordeaux and sailing for the coast of Brazil. Vengeur was sailing in company with three letters of marque - a ship, a brig and a schooner - that were bound for Guadeloupe. On 11 June Vengeur had captured the Jersey-privateer lugger Snake.

On 3 July Sirius recaptured the brig Cultivator. Indefatigable and Boadicea were in company at the time of the capture. Cultivator, Smith, master, had been sailing from Demerara to London when the French privateer Minerve, of Bordeaux, had captured her.

The next day, Sirius and Indefatigable captured the French ship Favori. Eleven days later, Bordelais captured the French vessel Phoenix. Sirius was among the vessels sharing in the prize money by agreement. Sirius shared in the capture of the French privateer schooner Revanche on 28 July. The actual captor was Uranie. Revanche was armed with fourteen 6-pounder guns and had a crew of 80 men. She was 19 days out of Vigo and had already captured and sent in the English brig Marcus, a Portuguese ship, and a Spanish brig that had been a prize to Minerve.

On 11 December Sirius captured the Spanish merchant brig Melchora, some three miles off Sifarga (Illas Sisargas, some 20 miles west of A Coruña). The brig was 24 hours out of A Coruña on her way to Montevideo when Sirius captured her. Captain King reported the capture in order to draw attention to the fact that she was the only vessel to have left A Coruña since August. Diamond shared in the proceeds of the capture.

On 26 January 1801, the British frigate Oiseau encountered the French frigate Dédaigneuse and gave chase. Sirius and Amethyst joined the next day. On the 28th Oiseau and Sirius effected the capture while unfavorable winds kept Amethyst from joining the action. Dédaigneuse was brought into the Royal Navy as HMS Dedaigneuse. The next day Sirius was in company with Amethyst when they captured the Spanish letter of marque Charlotta of Ferol, 16 hours out of Ferol on her way to Curaçao. The capture took place about six or seven leagues from Cape Belem in Galicia. The hired armed cutter Earl of St Vincent shared in the capture.

On 29 January Atalante captured and destroyed the Spanish privateer Intrepido Cid. Sirius and Amethyst shared, by agreement, in the bounty-money.

Sirius shared by agreement in the proceeds of the capture of the Temeraire (30 May) and the Bien Aimé (23 July). In July Sirius was under the temporary command of Captain J.B. Edwards. In July Commander John Edwards took command temporarily.

In July–August 1802, Sirius was under the command of Captain King, who further had command of a small squadron on anti-smuggling duties. The other vessels in the squadron were Carysfort, Imogen, Rosario, and Peterell.

In August 1802, Captain William Prowse took command of Sirius.

Napoleonic Wars
After the resumption of hostilities with France, Sirius took part in the blockade of Brest.

On 18 May 1803, Sirius and Nemesis captured Mere de Familie. Ten days later Sirius captured the French ship Achille and then on 8 June Trois Freres. The capture of Aigle on 30 May resulted in a preliminary allotment to Sirius's crew of £6200 in prize money. Two days earlier Sirius had captured Zephyr. Sirius shared with Nemesis the proceeds of the capture of Trois Freres and Aigle.

Sirius then was among the vessels sharing in the salvage money from the recapture of Lord Nelson on 27 August. Similarly, Sirius shared in the salvage money for Perseverance, recaptured on 28 October.

On 15 February 1805, Sirius recaptured Spring. On 22 July Sirius participated in Calder's Action (Battle of Cape Finisterre (1805)). She shared in the prize money for the Spanish ships St. Raphael and Firme, and possibly other vessels as well.

Trafalgar
On 21 October, Sirius joined the British fleet under Vice Admiral Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. Entering battle to the north of the weather column, her station placed her only a few cable lengths from HMS Victory.

Parliament voted a grant of £300,000 to be distributed in September 1806 among the participants of the battle. Other distributions of prize money followed. In 1847 the Admiralty would issue surviving claimants from the battle the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Trafalgar".

On 25 November, Sirius, Prince and Swiftsure captured Nemesis.

Sirius vs. Bergère
In January 1806, Sirius and the 74-gun Polyphemus were escorting a convoy from Gibraltar when they encountered a French squadron under Admiral Willaumez. The French succeeded in capturing two of the merchant vessels and four of the French fleet unsuccessfully chased Sirius for two hours, but forcing her to separate from the convoy.

From then until 1808 Sirius served in the Mediterranean. On 17 April 1806 at 2pm Sirius was five or six leagues off Civitavecchia when Prowse received intelligence that a French force had sailed that morning for Naples. He immediately set out and succeeded in catching up with them just after sunset two leagues from the mouth of the Tiber River. The force consisted of a ship, three corvettes, and five heavy gun-vessels, and they were deployed in line of battle near a dangerous shoal, awaiting Sirius's attack. The action commenced at 7pm and lasted for two hours before the French ship leading the flotilla struck. The water had been calm so the French had been able to fire well and Sirius herself was too damaged to pursue when the remainder of the French flotilla withdrew Prowse was also concerned about the risks of pursuit at night in water with shoals.

The captured vessel was the Bergère, which was under the command of capitaine de frégate Charles-Jacques-César Chaunay-Duclos, commodore of the flotilla and member of the Legion of Honor. She was armed with eighteen 12-pounder guns and one 36-pounder obusier, and had a crew of 189 men. Prowse described her as "remarkably fine Vessel, sails well, and is fit for His Majesty's Service." Prowse omitted mention of French casualties, but Sirius lost nine men killed, including Prowse's nephew, and 20 men wounded, nine dangerously so. This action too qualified the surviving claimants for the Naval General Service Medal, this time with the clasp "Sirius 17 April 1806".

Between April 1808 and January 1809 Sirius was at Chatham, undergoing repairs. In November 1808 Captain Samuel Pym assumed command of Sirius. On 24 February 1809 he sailed for the Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean.

Indian Ocean
On 2 March 1809 Sirius captured the French schooner Mecontent, and her cargo. In August Sirius joined a squadron under Commodore Josias Rowley and on 21 September participated in an attack on Saint-Paul, Réunion.

Main article: Raid on Saint-Paul
Sirius and HMS Raisonnable captured the French frigate Caroline. She was taken into British service as HMS Bourbonaise, there already being an HMS Caroline. The British also recaptured several East Indiamen that Caroline had captured, and the East India Company's brig Grappler. The land attack succeeded in capturing a number of shore batteries and guns. Sirius suffered the loss of two marines killed, two marines wounded, and one sailor missing.

The summer of 1810 saw a campaign against the French Indian Ocean possessions. The British captured the Île Bourbon (Réunion) in July. In August, they turned their attention to Mauritius, where they attempted to land troops to destroy coastal batteries and signals around Grand Port the attempt turned sour, however, when two French forty-gun frigates, Bellone and Minerve, the 18-gun corvette Victor, and two East Indiaman prizes entered the harbour and took up defensive positions at the head of the main entrance channel. The French also moved the channel markers to confuse the British approach.

Main article: Battle of Grand Port
On 23 August 1810 the British squadron entered the channel. Sirius was the first to run aground, followed by Magicienne and Néréide. Iphigenia prudently anchored in the channel some distance from the action. The French vessels concentrated all their gunfire first against Néréide and then against Magicienne.

The battle continued without interruption all night and on 24 August the French boarded the defenceless Néréide. Once the French flag was hoisted on what was left of the foremast of the Néréide, Magicienne and the Sirius began an intense cross fire against their enemies. Still, in the evening her crew had to abandon Magicienne, setting her on fire as they left her.


Combat de Grand Port by Pierre-Julien Gilbert, MNM

Every effort to kedge Sirius off failed she was firmly aground, making water, and unable to be freed. Pym ordered stores and provisions to be transferred to Iphigenia. When this was complete the men were removed with the last of the crew leaving on the morning of 25 August 1810. As they left they set fire to her Sirius exploded at about eleven o'clock, with her hull then briefly drifting off the reef before sinking.

The Battle of Grand Port was an important victory for the French. With two English frigates taken (Iphigenia and Néréide), and two others destroyed (Sirius and Magicienne), as well as 1,600 prisoners taken against 150 French dead or wounded, this battle marks the only French naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars.

Post script
Today Sirius lies in some 20–25 metres of water. The wreck has been broken up, as much by salvors as by her scuttling. Still, the site is of archaeological interest and many of her cannon rest exposed.

HMS Sirius (1797) - Wikipedia

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12 April 1806 - HMS Brave (74), Cdr. Edmund Boger, foundered off the Azores in passage from Jamaica to England.


Cassard was a Téméraire -class 74-gun ship of the line of the French Navy. She was renamed Dix-août in 1798, in honour of the events of 10 August 1792, and subsequently Brave in 1803.

Career
On 10 February 1801 Dix-août captured the 16-gun cutter HMS Sprightly, which she scuttled. On 27 March 1801, as Dix-août sailed with the fleet of Toulon, she collided with Formidable and had to return to harbour.

On 4 February 1803, her name was changed to Brave.

She was captured by HMS Donegal on 6 February 1806 at the Battle of San Domingo. She foundered shortly thereafter on 12 April (without loss of life) while en route to Britain.


Scale model of The Thomson Collection of Ship Models on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario


Following Nelson's victory at Trafalgar in 1805, Sir John Duckworth left the blockade of Cadiz and pursued a French squadron to the Caribbean, where he defeated it off San Domingo on the 6 February 1806. With six ships of the line and two frigates he was lying off St Kitts, watering and refitting his squadron, when he heard on that three French ships of the line were making for San Domingo. A force of nine French ships were found at anchor in San Domingo Roads, whence they slipped their cables and made sail in a westerly direction, forming a line of battle close inshore. The British closed in on them in two lines to cut them off. The action began when 'Superb', 74 guns, under the command of Sir John Duckworth, fired at the French 'Alexandre', 80 guns. In the action that followed the French ships' Alexandre', Brave', 74 guns, and 'Jupiter', 74 guns, were taken while the 'Diomede', 72 guns, and the huge 'Imperial', 120 guns ran themselves ashore and were wrecked. The three French frigates, 'Felicite', 36 guns, 'Comete', 36 guns and 'Diligente', 18 guns escaped. The 'Imperial', in port-bow view is in the right centre foreground of the painting, engaged to port with the 'Superb', nearly bow on. The 'Imperial's' main topmast is falling. To the right and beyond is the partly dismasted 'Northumberland', 74 guns, in starboard-quarter view. Beyond her in the extreme right background is the British 'Spencer', 74 guns, stern on, and in the background between the 'Superb 'and 'Northumberland' is the dismasted 'Brave.' In the centre middle ground, in port-bow view and partly masked by the 'Imperial 'is the 'Diomede', being engaged to starboard by the British 'Canopus', 80 guns, in starboard-bow view. Astern of her the stern half of the British 'Atlas', 74 guns, is visible, followed by the 'Agamemnon', 64 guns, in starboard-bow view, with the 'Alexandre' in starboard-quarter view in the distance. In the extreme left of the picture the British 'Donegal', 74 guns, in starboard-bow view is engaging the French 'Jupiter', 74 guns, to port. There is a fresh breeze and a choppy sea. This painting was a large-scale commission for Admiral Charles Middleton, Lord Barham, and records an event which took place while he was First Lord of the Admiralty, 1805-06. Pocock made many preparatory sketches for the commission giving full details of this action, in accordance with his usual practice of ensuring accuracy. Pocock was born and brought up in Bristol, went to sea at the age of 17 and rose to command several merchant ships. Although he only took up painting as a profession in his early forties, he became extremely successful, receiving commissions from naval commanders anxious to have accurate portrayals of actions and ships. By the age of 80, Pocock had recorded nearly forty years of maritime history, demonstrating a meticulous understanding of shipping and rigging with close attention to detail. Signed and dated, 'N Pocock 1808'.

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12 April 1807 – Launch of French Nettuno, a French Illyrien or Friedland-class brig built at Venice


Nettuno was a French Illyrien or Friedland-class brig built at Venice and launched in June 1807. HMS Unite captured her a year later off Zara. The Royal Navy took her into service as HMS Cretan. She served in the Mediterranean. She was sold in 1814. Between 1815 and 1831 she made five voyages as a whaler.

French brig
Nettuno was launched in April 1807 with Eugène de Beauharnais in attendance. She was at Venice in November, and Lesina and Ancona in May 1808.

Capture
Unite took shelter from a gale between 28 and 31 July under Lusin on the Dalmatian coast. Late in the afternoon of the 31st, near Premuda, she sighted three enemy naval brigs. Captain Campbell set out in chase and around 3am found himself with in two miles of two of the brigs. Suddenly he sighted he saw the third Unite steered to pass by the third and while within pistol-shot, gave the brig a broadside, which caused the brig to surrender without a shot being fired, her crew having taken refuge below decks. Unite sent boats that secured the brig and then set out after her two companions. There was little wind so the brigs made use of their sweeps and it was only around 7a.m. that Unite was able to catch up with the larger, and more laggardly of the brigs. This vessel, seeing no chance to escape, fired a broadside, struck her colours, and ran onto the shore, where Unite took possession. The third brig escaped. The two captured brigs turned out to be Nettuno and Teulié, both of sixteen "Thirty-Two-Pounders, Brass Carronades", and 115 men each. The brigs had been sent to find and take Unite, the French having heard that she had so many men sick that she would be easy prey. Although Unite had no casualties, the two French brigs were less fortunate. Nettuno had seven men killed, two drowned, and 13 wounded Teuliè had five men killed and 16 wounded.


Nettuno /HMS Cretan. Plan showing the body plan with stern board outline, sheerlines with inboard detail and scroll figurehead, and longitudinal half-breadth, as taken off at Sheerness Dockyard. Drawing from August-early September 1809.


HMS Cretan
The Royal Navy commissioned Nettuno in the Mediterranean as Cretan, under Commander Charles F. Payne. He would remain her commander throughout her service.

Between 13 July and 1 December 1809 Cretan was at Sheerness, undergoing repairs.

Cretan participated in the unsuccessful Walcheren Campaign, a British expedition to the Netherlands in 1809 intended to open another front in the Austrian Empire's struggle with France during the War of the Fifth Coalition. Around 40,000 soldiers, 15,000 horses together with field artillery and two siege trains crossed the North Sea and landed at Walcheren on 30 July. This was the largest British expedition of that year, larger than the army serving in the Peninsular War in Portugal. The campaign involved little fighting, but heavy losses from the sickness popularly dubbed "Walcheren Fever". Over 4,000 British troops died (only 106 in combat) and the rest withdrew on 9 December 1809. During the withdrawal operations, Commodore G.W.C.R. Owen, who was in actual command, shifted his pennant to Cretan the better to oversee the operations.

After the Walcharen Campaign Cretan served in the North Sea and Baltic.

On 28 October 1810 Cretan captured the Danish privateer Neptune. Neptune was armed with five guns, had a crew of 24 men, and had left Schelling the day before she had taken no prizes before Cretan captured her. Neptune arrived at Dover on 7 November. Cretan and Desiree shared in the proceeds of the capture, on 25 December 1811, of the Vrow Alida.

Between 29 July and 4 August 1812, Musquito captured several Dutch fishing boats: Gute Verwagting, Tobie Maria, Jonge Maria, Jeannette, Femme Elizabeth, Hoop (alias Esperance), and the Rondwich. By agreement, Musquito shared the prize money with Desiree, Banterer and Cretan.

On 17 September Indefatigable, Hearty, Desiree, Drake, Primrose, and Cretan shared in the capture of the Dankbarheide. When the gun-brig Hearty detained the Prussian vessel Friede on 29 September, Indefatigable, Desiree, Primrose, Cretan, Drake, were either in company or sharing by agreement.

Cretan captured two fishing boats, the Harmonie and the Stadt Embden on 16 January 1813.

Then on 28 February Cretan captured the Erineron, Nessen, master, which had been sailing from Bergen to Stettin, and sent her into Yarmouth.

Cretan and Leveret were in company on 12 March and so shared in the proceeds of the capture of the Danish vessel Aurora. Two days later, Cretan captured the Anna Brauer. That same day Prospero captured the Najaden, and later Cretan and Raven shared in the proceeds by agreement.

On 1 March 1814, Antelope and a Russian frigate forced the channel between Flushing and Cadsand, but Antelope then grounded off the Hoogplaat. She was stuck for 41 hours,. For 36 of those hours Nymphen, Banterer, and Cretan protected her and worked to free her. Eventually, a tide floated Antelope off.

Disposal
Commander Payne received promotion to post-captain on 7 June 1814. The Principal Officers and Commissioners of the Navy offered the "Cretan sloop, of 344 tons", lying at Deptford for sale on 29 September 1814.[20] Cretan sold on that day for £1,020.


Scale: 1:48. plan showing the upper deck and lower deck with platforms for Cretan (captured 1808), a captured Franco-Venetian 12-gun Brig Sloop, as taken off at Sheerness Dockyard.

Whaler
Alexander Birnie purchased Cretan and she made five voyages between 1815 and 1831 as a whaler.

For Cretan's first whaling voyage, Captain Joseph Moore left London on 18 April 1815 for New South Wales. She reached Port Jackson on 7 September, having sailed around the bottom of Tasmania. She left Sydney on 12 October to commence whaling around New Zealand. In December 1816 she was off the west coast of South America. She returned to Britain on 5 May 1817 with a full cargo of whale oil.

Cretan, Samuel Shrewsbury, master, left Britain on 7 September 1817 on her second whaling voyage, bound for the Galapagos. She was reported there in November 1819. She returned to Britain on 21 July 1820.

H. R. Gulliver (or Galloway) sailed Cretan on her third whaling voyage, leaving Britain on 13 January 1821. She was at Tahiti on 24 February 1822, and Valparaiso on 14 October. She returned to Britain on 20 May 1823 with 500 casks of oil.

Captain Gulliver was still master of Cretan on her fourth whaling voyage, sailing her on 3 September 1823 from Britain, bound for the "Japans". Cretan reached the Cape of Good Hope around 14 November. She was reported to be off the coast of Japan in June-July 1824 with 500 barrels. She returned to Britain on 18 December 1826 with 420 casks of oil.

Cretan left Britain on 16 March 1827 on her fifth (and last recorded) whaling voyage with H. R. Gulliver, master, and destination the Sandwich Islands and Timor. Cretan was at Tahiti from 25 August to 21 September 1827. On 18 April 1828 she was at Oahu. Her master arrived at Singapore on 26 August 1828, accusing his chief mate and crew of having mutinied and dispossessed him of his vessel. (During her voyage Stephen Reynolds (or Samuel Reynolds) replaced Gulliver as master.) Cretan was at Honolulu from 29 October to 4 December 1829 with 1110 barrels. She returned to Britain on 29 July 1831 with 400 casks of oil.

Fate
Lloyd's Register (1834) still listed Cretan but with no information beyond her burthen and location (London). She was no longer listed in 1835.

French brig Nettuno (1807) - Wikipedia

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12 April 1808 - Launch of HMS Venerable, a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, at Northfleet.

HMS Venerable was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 12 April 1808 at Northfleet.


HMS Venerable fighting the French frigate Alcmène on 16 January 1814

Career
On 13 December 1810 Venerable was in company with the hired armed cutter Nimrod and several other vessels at the capture of the Goede Trouw.

On 31 December 1813, she captured the French letter of marque brig Jason which became HMS Jason. Jason, of 264 tons (bm), was pierced for 22 guns but carried 14, 12 of which she had thrown overboard when Venerable chased her. She had left Bordeaux five days earlier and was sailing for New York with a cargo of silks, wines, and other articles of merchandise. There were 64 people on board, ten of whom were passengers. She was on her maiden voyage, copper-bottomed, and sailed so well, Captain Worth took her under protection, intending to go to Barbados.

Venerable was Admiral Durham's flagship when on 16 January 1814, Venerable and her prize Jason, were in company with Cyane. Cyane spotted two 44-gun French frigates, Alcmène and Iphigénie and signaled to Venerable. Venerable joined her and after a chase that left Cyane far behind, captured Alcmène, though not without a fight. Venerable lost two men dead and four wounded, while the French lost 32 dead and 50 wounded. Alcmène had a complement of 319 men under the command of Captain Ducrest de Villeneuve, who was wounded when he brought her alongside Venerable and attempted a boarding.

Jason and Cyane tracked Iphigénie and initially fired on her but broke off the engagement because they were outgunned. Cyane continued the chase for over three days until Venerable was able to rejoin the fight after having sailed 153 miles in the direction she believed that Iphigénie had taken. On 20 January 1814, after a 19-hour chase, or what amounted in all to a four-day chase Iphigénie, Venerable captured the quarry, having again left Cyane behind. In the chase, Iphigénie cast off her anchors and threw her boats overboard in order to try to gain speed. She had a complement of 325 men, under the command of Captain Émeric. She apparently did not resist after Venerable came up. Before meeting up with the British ships, the two French vessels had taken some eight prizes. The action resulted in the award in 1847, to any surviving claimants, of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Venerable 16 Jany. 1814".

Venerable was able to locate Iphigénie because Commander Ducrest de Villeneuve of Alcmène was so angry at Captain Émeric, who was the senior French commander, for not having come alongside Venerable on the other side also to board, that he essentially revealed the rendezvous instructions to Durham. When some prisoners from Iphigénie's crew were brought on Venerable, crew from Alcmène too were enraged. Durham had to station Royal Marines between them, with fixed bayonets, to prevent fighting from breaking out.

Fate
Venerable was placed on harbour service in 1825, and was broken up in 1838


Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines with modified gun ports, and longitudinal half-breadth for 'Cumberland' (1807), a 74-gun Third Rate, two-decker. It is likely that this plan also relates to 'Venerable' (1808), as she was also built by William Pitcher at Northfleet. Signed by John Henslow [Surveyor of the Navy, 1784-1806] and William Rule [Surveyor of the Navy, 1793-1813]


Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the framing profile (disposition) for 'Cumberland' (1807) and 'Venerable' (1808), both 74-gun Third Rate, two-deckers building at Northfleet by Mr Thomas Pitcher. Initialled by John Henslow [Surveyor of the Navy, 1784-1806] and William Rule [Surveyor of the Navy, 1793-1813].

Repulse-class ship of the line - Wikipedia

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12 April 1823 - Launch of HMS Prince Regent, a 120-gun Caledonia-class first rate three-decker ship of the line of the Royal Navy, at Chatham.


HMS Prince Regent was a 120-gun first rate three-decker ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 12 April 1823 at Chatham.

Served in the Baltic campaign in 1854 (1st campaign) but not in 1855 (2nd campaign).

She was converted into a screw ship in 1861, and was broken up in 1873.


Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the body plan, sheer lines, and longitudinal half-breadth proposed (and approved) for building Caledonia (1808), a 120-gun First Rate, three-decker. The plan shows alterations to the vessel during her building, including the raising of the bow to remove the vulnerability of the beakhead bulkhead. The plan was further altered and used for Britannia (1820) and Prince Regent (1823). Signed by William Rule [Surveyor of the Navy, 1793-1813] and John Henslow [Surveyor of the Navy, 1784-1806]


The Caledonia -class ships of the line were a class of nine 120-gun first rates, designed for the Royal Navy by Sir William Rule. A tenth ship (Royal Frederick) was ordered on 29 October 1827 to the same design, but was launched in 1833 as Queen to a fresh design by Sir William Symonds.

The armament remained the same for the first three ships of the class, with the exception of an increase in firepower on the poop deck from 2 to 6 18-pounder carronades. The armament for the fourth ship was significantly modified, with two of the 32-pounders on the main gun deck being replaced with 68-pounder carronades, all guns on the middle and upper gun decks being replaced with the same number of 32-pounders, four of the 12-pounder guns on the quarterdeck were replaced with 32-pounder carronades, and the remaining two were increased to 18-pounders, along with the two 12-pounders on the forecastle, and the carronades on the poop deck were removed. The remaining five ships were built to a slightly broadened version of the draught, and this sub-class was armed in the same way as the last of the standard Caledonias, HMS Royal George. Except for Caledonia herself, all these ships were converted into steam-powered screw battleships during the 1850s.


Launch of HMS Trafalgar

  • HMS Caledonia
  • HMS Britannia
  • HMS Prince Regent
  • HMS Royal George
  • HMS Neptune
  • HMS Royal William
  • HMS Waterloo
  • HMS St George
  • HMS Trafalgar


HMS Caledonia, 120 guns, lying in Plymouth Sound


Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the framing profile (disposition) with alterations for Caledonia (1808), a 120-gun First Rate, three-decker. The plan includes later alterations for Britannia (1820) and Prince Regent (1823).


Scale: 1:48. Plan showing the inboard profile for Britannia (1820), and with later alterations for Prince Regent (1823), both 120-gun First Rate, three-deckers. The plan illustrates the alteration to the circular stern in 1818, and the introduction of truss frames and trusses between ports. Signed by Robert Seppings [Surveyor of the Navy, 1813-1832]


Scale: 1:24. A model of the circular stern of HMS 'Prince Regent' (1823) made entirely in wood and painted in realistic colours. The model shows the completed stern and starboard quarter with the port quarter mostly in frame. The completed hull is off-white below the waterline, black above, with two broad off-white stripes along the lower two gundecks that also encompass the lower two stern galleries. The port quarter like the starboard side is carved from solid wood and shows the main frames which have been painted. The lower two gundecks on the starboard side show a total of six gunports, their lids partly open, whilst the upper two gundecks each have two gunports, the lower halves of the lids open or removed to show the guns. The stern galleries are elaborately carved and painted, the upper two galleries being open. All three galleries have nine light windows and four windows in each gallery are depicted with the muzzles of guns. The poop deck shows two small stern chasers and the counter is decorated with a phoenix with a lion and unicorn on either side. The edge of the completed section is shown with a stylised serrated edge. The top section of the rudder is shown in position




Scale: 1:48. Sectional model of the 'Caledonia' (1808), a 120 gun three-decker ship of the line. Model is decked and is one of two longitudinal half models which together forms a full hull model. SLR0120 is the port half, which depicts the method of construction in practice before adoption of the system introduced by Sir Robert Seppings. This is the starboard half, which shows improvements and modifications made by Seppings, about 1814


Scale: 1:24. Plan showing the midship section with details illustrating the method proposed by Mr Roberts of attaching the chocks, iron knees and fastenings for Caledonia (1808), a 120-gun First Rate, three-deck

Caledonia-class ship of the line - Wikipedia

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12 April 1861 - The Civil War begins with Confederates firing on Fort Sumter, S.C.
The Union Navy plays an integral part blockading Confederates, keeping them diplomatically and economically contained from other nations.


The Battle of Fort Sumter (April 12–13, 1861) was the bombardment of Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina by the Confederate States Army, and the return gunfire and subsequent surrender by the United States Army, that started the American Civil War. Following the declaration of secession by South Carolina on December 20, 1860, its authorities demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On December 26, Major Robert Anderson of the U.S. Army surreptitiously moved his small command from the vulnerable Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island to Fort Sumter, a substantial fortress built on an island controlling the entrance of Charleston Harbor. An attempt by U.S. President James Buchanan to reinforce and resupply Anderson using the unarmed merchant ship Star of the West failed when it was fired upon by shore batteries on January 9, 1861. South Carolina authorities then seized all Federal property in the Charleston area except for Fort Sumter.

During the early months of 1861, the situation around Fort Sumter increasingly began to resemble a siege. In March, Brigadier General P. G. T. Beauregard, the first general officer of the newly formed Confederate States Army, was placed in command of Confederate forces in Charleston. Beauregard energetically directed the strengthening of batteries around Charleston harbor aimed at Fort Sumter. Conditions in the fort, growing increasingly dire due to shortages of men, food, and supplies, deteriorated as the Union soldiers rushed to complete the installation of additional guns.

The resupply of Fort Sumter became the first crisis of the administration of the newly inaugurated U.S. President Abraham Lincoln following his victory in the election of November 6, 1860. He notified the Governor of South Carolina, Francis W. Pickens that he was sending supply ships, which resulted in an ultimatum from the Confederate government for the immediate evacuation of Fort Sumter, which Major Anderson refused. Beginning at 4:30 a.m. on April 12, the Confederates bombarded the fort from artillery batteries surrounding the harbor. Although the Union garrison returned fire, they were significantly outgunned and, after 34 hours, Major Anderson agreed to evacuate. There were no deaths on either side as a direct result of this engagement, although a gun explosion during the surrender ceremonies on April 14 caused two Union deaths.

Following the battle, there was widespread support from both North and South for further military action. Lincoln's immediate call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion resulted in an additional four southern states also declaring their secession and joining the Confederacy. The battle is usually recognized as the first battle that opened the American Civil War.


Bombardment

Bombardment of the Fort by the Confederates

At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861, Lt. Henry S. Farley, acting upon the command of Capt. George S. James,[45][46] fired a single 10-inch mortar round from Fort Johnson. (James had offered the first shot to Roger Pryor, a noted Virginia secessionist, who declined, saying, "I could not fire the first gun of the war.") The shell exploded over Fort Sumter as a signal to open the general bombardment from 43 guns and mortars at Fort Moultrie, Fort Johnson, the floating battery, and Cummings Point. Under orders from Beauregard, the guns fired in a counterclockwise sequence around the harbor, with 2 minutes between each shot Beauregard wanted to conserve ammunition, which he calculated would last for only 48 hours. Edmund Ruffin, another noted Virginia secessionist, had traveled to Charleston to be present for the beginning of the war, and fired one of the first shots at Sumter after the signal round, a 64-pound shell from the Iron Battery at Cummings Point. The shelling of Fort Sumter from the batteries ringing the harbor awakened Charleston's residents (including diarist Mary Chesnut), who rushed out into the predawn darkness to watch the shells arc over the water and burst inside the fort.

Major Anderson held his fire, awaiting daylight. His troops reported for a call at 6 a.m. and then had breakfast. At 7 a.m., Capt. Abner Doubleday fired a shot at the Ironclad Battery at Cummings Point. He missed. Given the available manpower, Anderson could not take advantage of all of his 60 guns. He deliberately avoided using guns that were situated in the fort where casualties were most likely. The fort's best cannons were mounted on the uppermost of its three tiers—the barbette tier—where his troops were most exposed to incoming fire from overhead. The fort had been designed to withstand a naval assault, and naval warships of the time did not mount guns capable of elevating to shoot over the walls of the fort. However, the land-based cannons manned by the Confederates were capable of high-arcing ballistic trajectories and could therefore fire at parts of the fort that would have been out of naval guns' reach. Fort Sumter's garrison could only safely fire the 21 working guns on the lowest level, which themselves, because of the limited elevation allowed by their embrasures, were largely incapable of delivering fire with trajectories high enough to seriously threaten Fort Moultrie. Moreover, although the Federals had moved as many of their supplies to Fort Sumter as they could manage, the fort was quite low on ammunition, and was nearly out at the end of the 34-hour bombardment. A more immediate problem was the scarcity of cloth gunpowder cartridges or bags only 700 were available at the beginning of the battle and workmen sewed frantically to create more, in some cases using socks from Anderson's personal wardrobe. Because of the shortages, Anderson reduced his firing to only six guns: two aimed at Cummings Point, two at Fort Moultrie, and two at the Sullivan's Island batteries.

Ships from Fox's relief expedition began to arrive on April 12. Although Fox himself arrived at 3 a.m. on his steamer Baltic, most of the rest of his fleet was delayed until 6 p.m., and one of the two warships, USS Powhatan, never did arrive. Unbeknownst to Fox, it had been ordered to the relief of Fort Pickens in Florida. As landing craft were sent toward the fort with supplies, the artillery fire deterred them and they pulled back. Fox decided to wait until after dark and for the arrival of his warships. The next day, heavy seas made it difficult to load the small boats with men and supplies and Fox was left with the hope that Anderson and his men could hold out until dark on April 13.

Although Sumter was a masonry fort, there were wooden buildings inside for barracks and officer quarters. The Confederates targeted these with Heated shot (cannonballs heated red hot in a furnace), starting fires that could prove more dangerous to the men than explosive artillery shells. At 7 p.m. on April 12, a rain shower extinguished the flames and at the same time the Union gunners stopped firing for the night. They slept fitfully, concerned about a potential infantry assault against the fort. During the darkness, the Confederates reduced their fire to four shots each hour. The following morning, the full bombardment resumed and the Confederates continued firing hot shot against the wooden buildings. By noon most of the wooden buildings in the fort and the main gate were on fire. The flames moved toward the main ammunition magazine, where 300 barrels of gunpowder were stored. The Union soldiers frantically tried to move the barrels to safety, but two-thirds were left when Anderson judged it was too dangerous and ordered the magazine doors closed. He ordered the remaining barrels thrown into the sea, but the tide kept floating them back together into groups, some of which were ignited by incoming artillery rounds. He also ordered his crews to redouble their efforts at firing, but the Confederates did the same, firing the hot shots almost exclusively. Many of the Confederate soldiers admired the courage and determination of the Yankees. When the fort had to pause its firing, the Confederates often cheered and applauded after the firing resumed and they shouted epithets at some of the nearby Union ships for failing to come to the fort's aid

The fort's central flagpole was knocked down at 1 p.m. on April 13, raising doubts among the Confederates about whether the fort was ready to surrender. Col. Louis Wigfall, a former U.S. senator, had been observing the battle and decided that this indicated the fort had had enough punishment. He commandeered a small boat and proceeded from Morris Island, waving a white handkerchief from his sword, dodging incoming rounds from Sullivan's Island. Meeting with Major Anderson, he said, "You have defended your flag nobly, Sir. You have done all that it is possible to do, and General Beauregard wants to stop this fight. On what terms, Major Anderson, will you evacuate this fort?" Anderson was encouraged that Wigfall had said "evacuate," not "surrender." He was low on ammunition, fires were burning out of control, and his men were hungry and exhausted. Satisfied that they had defended their post with honor, enduring over 3,000 Confederate rounds without losing a man, Anderson agreed to a truce at 2:00 p.m.

Fort Sumter raised Wigfall's white handkerchief on its flagpole as Wigfall departed in his small boat back to Morris Island, where he was hailed as a hero. The handkerchief was spotted in Charleston and a delegation of officers representing Beauregard—Stephen D. Lee, Porcher Miles, a former mayor of Charleston, and Roger Pryor—sailed to Sumter, unaware of Wigfall's visit. Anderson was outraged when these officers disavowed Wigfall's authority, telling him that the former senator had not spoken with Beauregard for two days, and he threatened to resume firing. Meanwhile, General Beauregard himself had finally seen the handkerchief and sent a second set of officers, offering essentially the same terms that Wigfall had presented, so the agreement was reinstated.


ABurntShip

It is interesting to compare the similarities between two poets dealing with the 1667 Dutch raid on the Medway centuries apart.

The three Anglo-Dutch wars from 1653 -1673 saw fourteen battles or major raids in Western European waters. Clashes between the English and the Dutch in West Africa and the American colonies also occurred.

The Battle of Lowestoft 3rd June 1665, is generally regarded as an English victory, with the loss of at least 30 Dutch ships and James Duke of York excelling himself as an admiral .

The Four Day battle from 1st June 1666- 4th June 1666, was one of the longest ever sea battles. The English and the Dutch fleets managed to exhaust each other, though English losses were far higher.




Pieter Cornelisz van Soest [Public domain], via Wikimedia Common
On 10th -12th August 1666, an English fleet under Robert Holmes had raided the Dutch town of West Terschelling, which was set on fire along with some 140 merchant ships . This incident is sometimes referred to as 'Holmes Bonfire'. Many Dutch ports were hard to reach via sudden raids by reason of geography, but West Terschelling was unlucky in this respect. However, the English coastline was far more exposed And retaliation soon came.



Andrew Marvell ( 1621- 1678) summed up just how vulnerable ships could be to enemy raids Particularly when the Dutch retaliated in 1667.



The Film and the Facts: About the Movie Michiel de Ruyter

I’m delighted to welcome a distinguished guest blogger this week, to bring relief from the recent overdose of politics! Gijs Rommelse is one of the pre-eminent Dutch maritime and political historians of the early modern period, being the author of The Second Anglo-Dutch War: International Raison d’état, Mercantilism and Maritime Strife, the co-author with Roger Downing of A Fearful Gentleman: Sir George Downing in The Hague, 1658-72, and co-editor with David Onnekink of Ideology and Foreign Policy in Early Modern Europe, 1650-1750. He is also the editor of Holland Historisch Tijdschrift, in which the Dutch version of the following review first appeared.

I’ve mentioned the lavish new Dutch film about the great 17th century admiral Michiel de Ruyter in an earlier blog on this site. Although it seems to have reached the USA and even China, there’s still no sign of its English subtitled version, titled Admiral, in British cinemas (or DVD shops) – but then, we’re most definitely the bad guys in this, so perhaps the distribution company reckons there won’t be too much of an audience. Consequently, all I’ve seen of the film are some stills and its rather impressive trailer, embedded below at the end of Gijs’s review. However, even this limited view enables me to add a couple more jarring notes from a British perspective. Quite why the film-makers decided to show British warships flying the Union flag as an ensign is beyond me, especially as they seem to be flying ensigns as jacks…and as for casting 68 year old Charles Dance as King Charles II, who would have been at most 43 years old in the period covered by the film, presumably this was some sort of ploy to pack in Dance’s fans from Game of Thrones, as I suggested in this blog a few months back. But I’ll reserve further judgement until I see the film in its entirety, and will hand over in the meantime to Gijs – with big thank you’s to him both for his permission to reproduce this translation of his review on this site, and for his generous mention of my essay on British perceptions of de Ruyter!

A lieutenant-admiral in a naval battle, sabre in hand, swinging over on a rope to an English ship to personally kill a dozen enemies? Prince William III of Orange forcing De Ruyter, through blackmail and threats against his family, to sail to the Mediterranean to commit suicide in a battle against a larger French fleet, because the Prince, prompted by the Rotterdam schemer Johan Kievit, had come to regard the legendary naval commander as the heir of Johan de Witt’s republican heritage? The highly experienced French commander Abraham Duquesne fooled in a childishly simple way by De Ruyter, and sailing his entire squadron onto a sandbank at Kijkduin? Cornelis Tromp gradually developing from a jealous, undisciplined prima donna to a hidden admirer of De Ruyter? These are just some examples of the historical inaccuracies and fabrications which the screenwriters of the new film spectacle Michiel de Ruyter employ to dramatize the heroism and tragedy in the life of the famous naval hero for the general public.

In about two and a half hours, the film tells the story of the career of the great admiral from Flushing during the three Anglo-Dutch Wars (1652-1654, 1665-1667 and 1672-1674), and his eventual death at the hands of a French fleet in 1676. By placing De Ruyter on board Admiral Maarten Harpertsz Tromp’s flag ship Brederode moments before his demise during the Battle of Scheveningen (1653) and letting Tromp’s dying words be directed to him, the makers suggest that De Ruyter was sent by Tromp on a kind of sacred mission to be his successor and lead the Dutch fleet in battle. In reality, this would happen only in 1665, after De Ruyter’s predecessor Wassenaar van Obdam’s ship Eendracht had exploded during the Battle of Lowestoft.

It is true that Johan de Witt, who in 1653 took office as pensionary of the province of Holland, recognized in De Ruyter a formidable talent, someone who would be particularly suitable as a fleet commander. The film rightly makes clear that De Witt played a crucial role in the professionalization of the fleet organization and the building of a strong standing navy. A series of defeats during the First Anglo-Dutch War had shown that the old model – a limited number of purpose-built warships supplemented for the occasion by a much larger number of converted merchant ships – was completely outdated. The great statesman managed to create political support for the ambitious naval construction programme through his extensive network and also organized the financial resources required for this. Incidentally, the film also rightly raises the point that the construction of the standing navy was very much at the expense of the land army, and thus facilitated the invasion by the armies of Louis XIV in 1672. As the film reveals, in fact it was De Ruyter who repeatedly repelled the principal threat posed by the British and French, and thus played a crucial role in the survival of the Republic as an independent state.

Looking at the film, one would get the impression that the career of De Ruyter lasted only a few months, or at most two or three years. The admiral himself, played by Frank Lammers, and his wife and children, never appear a day older. This is because the political and military ramifications of the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars are essentially telescoped into one conflict. It is also striking that one of De Ruyter’s most famous feats is entirely missing from the film: namely, the reconquest of the slave stations of the West India Company (WIC) on the West African coast in 1664-1665. It was this voyage that led activists noisily to disrupt the gala premiere of the film on 26 January 2015 at the Maritime Museum in Amsterdam (see their Facebook page). According to their banners, De Ruyter was a ruthless advocate of slavery. Far-fetched and slightly unhistorical as this accusation might be, the noise of this protest did provide a nice counterbalance to the uncritical worship which De Ruyter invariably receives, and still enjoys in Dutch naval circles. The Royal Netherlands Navy was one of the partners of the production Farmhouse Film & TV.

Particularly interesting in the film is the role of De Ruyter in the political struggle between the republicans, headed by the brothers Johan and Cornelis de Witt, and Orangists seeking the elevation of Prince William III. In the film, De Ruyter is shown as a good friend of the republican brothers moreover, his naval successes formed an essential pillar for their regime. By contrast, in the most authoritative Dutch literature, most notably the biography by Ronald Prud’homme van Reine, De Ruyter is presented as someone standing more or less outside the political fray, a man who had respect for De Witt and worked together with him, but who otherwise was really only interested in the fortunes of the dear fatherland. This picture seems to have carried over from 19 th century studies, which were particularly interested in the glorious deeds of illustrious heroes, and a De Ruyter who was an opponent of Orangism would not fit this image. Interestingly, David Davies recently argued, in an English-language collection of essays on De Ruyter’s life, that far too little attention has been focused on his political role. The film is actually making this same point, although the film-makers were probably just trying to create a villainous opponent to make the story interesting for the viewer, rather than offering a serious reinterpretation. Anyway, maybe it is time that the history of the Dutch fleet in the 17th century should be seen explicitly through a prism of political ideology and polarization.

Finally, it should be noted that the viewer is treated to spectacular battle scenes with sizeable fleets, attractive locations, and a lavish view of the social, economic and religious life of the Dutch Golden Age.


Watch the video: The battle of Lowestoft, 1665