Part of the Acorn Archive

Hearts of Oak




and Captain John Vivian (senior)



The LITTLE CATHERINE was the ship which took Trevithick's engine to London, in 1803.


Before 1824, Packet ships were hired by the Post Office from a commander holding a Post Office Commission. The hire was for a considerable period, of 21 years. Packet ships were styled HMP (His Majesty's Packet). After 1824, when the Admiralty took over the Falmouth packet station, they were commissioned ships, and styled HMPB (His Majesty's Packet Brig).


In addition to the 'established packets' there were numbers of 'temporary packets' these were hiredto replace vessels lost or captured by the enemy, or by Commanders who hadreceived their commission but were waiting for their contracted vessel to be completed.


The LITTLE CATHERINE was a temporary packet, and she was hired at Penzance in 1813 for the West Indies and American Service, Captain John Vivian being appointed on 13th March 1813.


On 15th March 1813, HMP LITTLE CATHERINE, returning from Corunna, was captured by two French frigates (SOULTAN and ETOILE); She was re-captured/salvaged by HMS LACEDEMONIAN, and was taken to Bermuda.


After the second capture and subsequent abandonment,

she was valued at £3990 14s6d by the Post Office,

which sum was paid to the owners H. C. Blewett.


She was purchased at Bermuda by the Post Office in 1814;

Renamed BLUCHER and was then used as a temporary packet by various commanders prior to them obtainingtheir own ships or when a packet was captured or sunk.


The LITTLE CATHERINE/BLUCHER was built in 1801 (perhaps at Bermuda) and was described as a Brig of 185 tons.


Only two or three vessels were purchased by the Post Office in this manner, the other 'temporary packets'being hired from a consortium of the packet commanders or private shipowners.

BLUCHERís Commanders were Ö.

James Price††††††††† 14 Apr 1814

Nicholas Pocock27 Feb 1818

Joseph White†††††† 29 Sep 1819

Lt. Furzer RN††††††††††††††††† 1821



Thanks to Andy C Adams




Raymond Forward