1801 - State of the British Navy, British and Danish Fleets


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 State of the British Navy 62

THE abstract of the British navy, for the commencement of the present year*, shows a considerable increase in its line-of-battle total; but the number of line-cruisers in commission remains the same as in the last abstract, and the lower totals exhibit, in reference to the latter, a very slight improvement in their numbers. As one cause of this, the "Captured" column, owing chiefly to the reduced state of the Dutch, and the blockaded state of the French and Spanish navies, does not amount to half what it did in the preceding year¥.

A very slight diminution occurs in the wrecked and foundered cases of the British navy in the year 1800; and the accidental losses of that year, including the melancholy loss by fire, ended the lives of upwards of 1300 British officers, seamen, and marines. All four of the foundered vessels belonged to the sloop-classes, and three of them had been French privateers. The number of cruisers employed in watching the enemy's ports, the boldness and perseverance with which their commanders performed that arduous duty, and the frequent gales of wind which occurred during the winter months of the year, render eleven wrecked cases, out of so many ships as were then at sea, no extraordinary number§.

The carronade still maintained, and more than maintained its ground. On the 21st of February, 1800, an admiralty-order had issued, directing that in future all ships of 24 and 20 guns should be fitted on the main deck for 32-pounder carronades, in lieu of the long nines they had hitherto carried. This was giving the ships a great increase of force, without the necessity of detaching so many men to the guns; a 9-pounder long gun, requiring seven men to fight it, but a 32-pounder carronade only six. Hence a greater number remained to handle the small

* See Appendix, Annual Abstract No. 9.

¥ See Appendix, No. 8

§ See Appendix, No. 9

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