1806 - Escape from Brest of two French squadrons


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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1806 British and French Fleets 184

and, while none of the ships returned to port to be laid up in ordinary or repaired within two years, two remained out of nine, and several for six or seven years, after they had been thus expeditiously and economically converted from useless hulks to effective cruisers.*

Among the newly-built vessels of the year 1805, is the first regular ship of war belonging to the British navy constructed of teak, the Salsette, and at the top of the column of ordered ships stands a first-rate, the Nelson, similar in size and force to the Caledonia, and whose tonnage is about double that of the 18 " cruisers " grouped together at the bottom of the same column. Nothing further occurring in Abstract No. 14 worthy of notice in this place, it will suffice to refer to the customary lists of prizes made, and losses sustained, during the year 1805.†

The number of commissioned officers and masters, belonging to the British navy at the commencement of the year 1806, was:

Admirals                     55
Vice-admirals     50
Rear-admirals     56
Rear-admirals superannuated 22  
Captains     617
Captains superannuated 26  
Commanders, or sloop-captains     416
Commanders, or sloop-captains    superannuated    46  
Lieutenants     2437      
Masters     541

And the number of seamen and marines voted for the service of the same year was 120,000.‡

In our last year's account of the proceedings of the Brest fleet, we stated that, on the 13th of December, a strong division of it, consisting of 11 sail of the line, four frigates, and a ship-corvette, had escaped from the anchorage outside of the goulet ; and that, in consequence of the severity of the weather, Admiral Cornwallis, the commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet, was not apprized of the circumstance.§

On the 14th these 11 line-of-battle ships, which were the élite of the Brest fleet, separated into two squadrons ; one of which consisted of the:

Gun Ship  
120 Impérial Vice-adm. Corentin-Urbain Leissegues
Captain Julien-Gabriel Bigot.
80 Alexandre Captain Pierre-Elie Garreau
74 Brave Commod. Louis-Marie Coude.
Diomède Captain Jean-Baptiste Henry.
Jupiter Captain Gaspard Laignel.
Frigates Cornète  
ship-corvette Diligente  

*  A list of the ships, down to 18-pounder frigates inclusive, which were so doubled and braced, will be found in the Appendix. See No. 12.

†  See Appendix, Nos. 13, 14, 15, and 16

‡  Ibid., No. 17.

§  See vol. iii., p. 305.

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