News: Gypsy tart originated from the Isle of Sheppey
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: HMS Tenedos (1812 - 1875)  (Read 9547 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Guest
Re: HMS Tenedos (1812 - 1875)
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 08:23:06 »
Thank you Bilgerat as you say off-topic but helps greatly to understand and appreciate the articles. Please consider a 'glossary'  :)

Online Bilgerat

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1150
  • Appreciation 265
Re: HMS Tenedos (1812 - 1875)
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 22:48:27 »
the difference between say a '5th rate frigate' or a 1,2,3,4th or even what makes a 'ships of the line' is a bit of a mystery

A good point which deserves an answer, albeit slightly off-topic, but here goes anyway. The rating system classified a ship by the number of guns carried.

First Rate - 100 or more guns (not including carronades). These were the largest and most powerful ships in the world and owing to their prestige, were only given as flagships to the best connected or most famous flag-officers (Admirals etc.).

Second Rate - Between 81 and 99 guns. A (slightly) cheaper alternative to a first-rate. Up to about 1840, these carried their guns on three gundecks.

Third Rate - Between 61 and 80 guns. The most common type of ship of the line.

Fourth Rate - Between 45 and 59 guns. Until the mid-1750's, these were the smallest ships of the line. After about 1800, larger frigates carrying between 50 and 59 guns began to be built - these were also classed as 4th rate ships.

Fifth Rate - Between 31 and 44 guns.

Sixth Rate - Between 20 and 30 guns. The smallest ships which would normally be commanded by an officer with the rank of Captain.

Sloop of War - An ocean-going warship not carrying the minimum of 20 guns needed to be included in the rating system.

Post-Ship - A sixth-rate ship carrying less than 28 guns.

Frigate - A ship of at least 28 guns carrying her main guns on a single enclosed gundeck. Also referred to as 'Cruisers'.

Ship-of-the-line - A ship built to participate in set-piece naval battles, where stability, strength and firepower were more important than speed and agility. Mounted her guns on multiple gundecks.

Maybe this needs to be the subject of a separate topic - I'll leave that to the powers-that-be to decide. In the meantime, if anyone wants me to produce some kind of 'glossary of terms' I'd be happy to.
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent

Offline mikeb

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 572
  • Appreciation 26
Re: HMS Tenedos (1812 - 1875)
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 13:48:28 »
Another fine read about a Chatham ship Bilgerat, many thanks.

Have you thought of collating these write-ups into a book on Chatham built / based ships?


  • Guest
Re: HMS Tenedos (1812 - 1875)
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 09:04:25 »
Once again Bilgerat, a very interesting article. Thank you. As a newcomer to the historical maritime world, the difference between say a '5th rate frigate' or a 1,2,3,4th or even what makes a 'ships of the line' is a bit of a mystery but I eagerly await another article?  :)

Online Bilgerat

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1150
  • Appreciation 265
HMS Tenedos (1812 - 1875)
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2013, 22:10:56 »
HMS Tenedos was an 18pdr-armed, 38 gun, 5th rate frigate of the Leda class, built at Chatham Royal Dockyard.

The Leda class were a group of 47 sailing frigates built for the Royal Navy between 1800 and 1826, 17 of which were built in Kent shipyards, nine at the Royal Dockyard at Chatham, including the lead ship of the class. Two ships of the class, including the Chatham-built HMS Unicorn are still in existence, the other being the Bombay-built HMS Trincomalee. Their design was copied from that of a French frigate, the Hebe, captured by the Royal Navy in 1782. Fast, powerful and manoeuvrable, their design was very successful.

HMS Tenedos was ordered from the Royal Dockyard at Chatham on 28th September 1809 and her keel was laid in May 1810. Her construction was supervised by Robert Seppings, Master Shipwright at Chatham and she was launched into the Medway on 11th April 1812. In common with ships of that time, she was virtually complete when launched and fitting out consisted of fitting her guns, masts, rigging and loading her stores. When she was declared complete, on 16th June 1812, she had cost 36,129 exactly. On completion, she was a ship of 1,082 tons, she was 150ft long on the gundeck and 40' 4" wide across the beam. She was armed with 28 18pdr long guns on the gundeck, 8 9pdr long guns and 6 32pdr carronades on her quarterdeck with 2 9pdr long guns and 2 32pdr carronades on her forecastle. She was manned by a crew of 284 men, boys, officers and marines. Because at the time, carronades weren't included in the rated number of guns, she was officially rated as a 38 gun 5th rate ship, although in reality, she actually carried 46 guns.

Leda Class Plans

Orlop Plan:

Lower or Berth Deck Plan:

Upper or Gundeck Plan:

Quarterdeck and Forecastle Plans:

Plan of Frame 25, how the frame members are scarphed together:

Framing Plan:

Inboard Profile and Plan:

Sheer Plan and Lines:

Picture of a Leda Class frigate showing the sail plan:

HMS Trincomalee at Hartlepool. HMS Tenedos would have been identical:

She commissioned on the day she was declared complete, 16th June 1812, under her only commander, Captain Hyde Parker. By that time, Britain was at war with the United States, war having broken out on 18th June 1812. By 25th August 1812, HMS Tenedos was at Portsmouth, preparing to escort a convoy across the Atlantic to Newfoundland and the Gulf of St Lawrence. The convoy departed Portsmouth and arrived safely. HMS Tenedos was then engaged in patrols of the eastern seaboard of the USA and Canada.

On 21st March 1813, HMS Tenedos departed Halifax, Nova Scotia in company with her sister-ship, the Frindsbury-built HMS Shannon, for a patrol off Boston. In company with HMS Shannon, HMS Nymphe (38) and the schooner HMS Emulous (14), HMS Tenedos captured the American schooner USS Anne off Boston. On 2nd April, HMS Tenedos and HMS Shannon carried out a close reconnaisance of Boston Harbour and spotted the American frigates USS Congress, USS Constitution and USS President there. After informing their flag-officer about what they had found, they were ordered to carry out a close blockade of the harbour and prevent the American ships from leaving. While the two ships were out of sight, another American frigate, the USS Chesapeake entered Boston.

By this time, the Royal Navy's reputation for invincibility at sea had been severely dented. The American heavy frigates had scored a number of notable victories against the Royal Navy in single-ship actions, most famously in the destruction of HMS Guerriere by the USS Constitution. Captain Phillip Broke of HMS Shannon was determined to even the score by engaging and defeating one of the famous American ships. On 16th May, HMS Shannon and HMS Tenedos chased a large armed ship flying American colours and forced it ashore. After a boat action, the enemy ship was captured and refloated. She turned out to be the French-built privateer Invincible of 16 guns, which had previously been captured by the British, then retaken by the Americans. HMS Tenedos and HMS Shannon continued with their blockade of Boston.

On 21st May, HMS Tenedos, in company with the 18 gun brig-sloop HMS Curlew captured the 4 gun privateer schooner USS Enterprise. Three days later, she captured the schooner USS Postboy in company with HMS Shannon and the 18 gun brig-sloop HMS Rattler.

Such was Captain Broke's determination to fight the USS Chesapeake still holed up in Boston that on 25th May 1813, in his position as senior commander, he ordered HMS Tenedos away, in the hope that this would entice the American out. The ruse worked and USS Chesapeake left Boston and was duly engaged by HMS Shannon in her now famous action, mentioned in this thread:

After that, HMS Tenedos continued patrolling the east coast of the USA and on 24th June 1813 captured the brig USS North Star, en-route from San Salvador to Boston. She accompanied her prize back to Halifax, Nova Scotia and spent the next few days there replenishing her stores before departing again to continue with her patrols.

On 22nd August, a brig previously captured by the American privateer brig USS Fox and recaptured by HMS Tenedos and HMS Hogue (74) arrived in Halifax. The ship remained on patrol until 23rd October 1813, when in company with HMS Hogue and the 12-gun gun-brig HMS Manly, she returned to Halifax.

December of 1813 was spent blockading the port of Portsmouth, New Hampshire where the large American frigate USS Congress (44) was laid up. In this, HMS Tenedos was in company with the large, ex-French frigate HMS Junon (44). The two ships returned to Halifax on 9th January 1814. On 21st January HMS Tenedos left Halifax in company with the 18-gun ex-American brig HMS Anaconda to escort a convoy to the Caribbean.

By April, HMS Tenedos was again operating in company with HMS Junon and on 3rd, the two frigates sighted the large American frigate USS Constitution and chased her into the port of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Incidentally, the USS Constitution still exists, preserved at Boston and is the worlds oldest seaworthy warship.

USS Constitution under way in 2006.

On 11th May, HMS Tenedos again returned to Halifax to replenish. On 3rd July, a small American schooner arrived at Halifax with a prize crew from HMS Tenedos aboard. Three weeks later, another of her prizes, the schooner USS Antelope also arrived at Halifax. She was followed a month later by another, the brig Wanderer, taken by the privateer USS Invincible Napoleon and recaptured by HMS Tenedos.

By this time, the war in America was in stalemate. The Royal Navy's blockade of the east coast of the USA was, apart from American victories in single-ship actions, successful and was causing great difficulties for the American merchant marine and had brought commercial shipping to a virtual halt. Victory was in sight in the war in Europe. Spain had collapsed and the British were winning the Peninsular War. The French had been defeated in Russia  and the regime of Napoleon Bonaparte was on the brink of collapse. The war with the Americans had proved very costly to the British economy as a result of the loss of trade. Peace negotiations started in August 1814, but despite this, the war continued apace.

It was against this background that on 26th August 1814, a force comprising HMS Dragon (74), the 24pdr-armed Heavy Frigate HMS Endymion (40), HMS Bacchante (18pdr 38) and ten transport ships assembled at Halifax to conduct an amphibious raid on the port of Castine, Maine. The force left Halifax that day and was joined off the Metinicus Islands on 31st by HMS Tenedos, HMS Bulwark (74) and the brig-sloops HMS Rifleman (18) and HMS Peruvian (18). This fleet anchored off the town on 1st September and landed troops who spent the next two days destroying the fort there and burning the town to the ground. On 2nd, HMS Tenedos sent her boats to accompany the brig sloops HMS Sylph (18) and HMS Peruvian up the River Penobscot to locate and capture the small American Frigate USS Adams (26). The retreating Americans set fire to the USS Adams rather than let her fall into British hands and the force returned empty-handed. On 3rd September, the British withdrew from Castine. This was not the only amphibious raid of this nature conducted by the British in the War. Larger assaults were also conducted against the cities of New Orleans, Detroit and Washington DC. Amongst the buildings razed by the British in the Washington attack was a large mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. After the war, the building was repaired and painted white to hide the scorch marks on the stone. It is for that reason that the building is today known as 'The White House'.

On Christmas Eve, 1814, both sides signed the Treaty of Ghent after protracted negotiations. The British Parliament ratified the treaty on December 27th, but the US Congress didn't do so until February 17th 1815. In the intervening period, the fighting continued. On 13th January 1815, HMS Tenedos joined the squadron blockading New York, where the large American frigate USS President was trapped.

USS President was one of the six original frigates built by the Americans when the US Navy was founded at the end of the 18th century as part of their war against the Barbary States. Of the six frigates, three of them were rated as 50 gun ships. Their design was different to the frigates being built by the European navies, including the British. European frigates followed the same basic pattern, in that their upper decks consisted of a forecastle and quarterdeck. The American frigates instead had a full-length 'spar deck', which ran the whole length of the ship and which allowed the fitting of a large number of heavy carronades to their uppermost deck. The 50 gun ships were USS President, USS Congress and USS Constitution (pictured above). The 50 gun ships were armed on a massive scale and carried 32 24pdr long guns on their gundecks with 22 42pdr carronades on their spar deck, with a single 18 pdr long gun in the bow. This meant that they were able to overwhelm any frigate in the world. They could probably take on a 74 gun ship of the line, but in the event, this never happened.

On 14th January, the squadron was blown out to sea by a strong gale. The USS President used the same gale to escape. Unfortunately, the channel out of New York had been improperly marked and as a result, USS President went aground on a sand bar. Stranded on the bar, the ship lifted and dropped onto the bar with the waves and suffered structural damage as a result. With her masts sprung and frames damaged, USS President eventually floated off the sandbar two hours later. her commander, Captain Stephen Decatur hoped to return to New York, but the wind prevented this, so he took the ship out to sea, hoping to evade the British. The British on the other hand had guessed that the American would use the bad weather to try to escape and set about searching for her.

The following day, the British spotted the USS President and the squadron closed in. The British force, in addition to HMS Tenedos, also comprised HMS Endymion, the ex-French frigate HMS Pomone (38) and the Razee Heavy Frigate HMS Majestic (50). A Razee Heavy Frigate was a former ship-of-the-line, cut down into something resembling a frigate. This was done in response both to the large American frigates and to similar ships built by the French towards the end of the Napoleonic War. In the case of HMS Majestic, this ship was originally a 74 gun ship of the line. During her conversion, her poop, quarterdeck and forecastle had all been removed. Her upper gundeck became a spar deck, while she retained her lower gundeck armament of 32 pdr long guns. Her spar deck was fitted with 42 pdr carronades.

When spotted, USS President was about 2 miles ahead of the British force and the first of the British ships to engage her was HMS Endymion. The two ships exchanged broadsides while the American attempted manoeuvre into a boarding position. Realising that the damage to his ship had seriously reduced her ability to manoeuvre, the American attempted to disable HMS Endymion with chain shot. The British ship instead took station off the USS President's stern and raked her with full broadsides three times. Decatur had had enough and decided to surrender. He ordered that a lamp be hoisted (it was getting dark by this time). HMS Endymion's boats had been destroyed earlier in the action and her forward rigging was damaged. While the British ship was hove-to making repairs to her rigging, the American changed his mind about surrendering and made to escape. By now, it was 20:30 and on seeing the American about to make off, HMS Endymion hurriedly completed her repairs and resumed the chase, followed by HMS Tenedos and the others.

The chase continued until 22:50, when HMS Tenedos and HMS Pomone drew within range of USS President and opened fire. Faced with two more powerful British frigates and an even more  powerful razee also coming up and unable to outrun them, Decatur decided to surrender again, just before midnight. USS President was taken into the Royal Navy and became HMS President. The ship was broken up in 1818 after a pre-refit survey found her hull to be too badly rotten and damaged to be worth repairing. The Royal Navy built a new HMS President, identical to the ex-American one in 1829. That ship became a drill-ship for the Royal Naval Reserve at London and after she was broken up in 1903, the name was given to her successors in the role (including HMS Gannet) until the establishment was moved ashore at St Katherines Dock in 1988.

The taking of the USS President by Thomas Whitcombe:

The war ended on 17th February 1815 when the US Congress finally ratified the Treaty of Ghent and HMS Tenedos returned from patrol to Halifax for the last time a month later. In August 1815, HMS Tenedos returned home to Chatham and paid off into the Ordinary. Her yards, stores and guns were removed and her hatches and gunports were sealed shut. She remained at Chatham until 1819, when she was moved to Woolwich. Once there, she underwent repairs. She again underwent repairs at Woolwich in April 1826. In 1830, HMS Tenedos was moved to Sheerness and nine years later, returned to Chatham. Between December 1842 and April 1843, the ship was converted to a prison hulk and in 1844, she was taken to Bermuda. There she remained until 20th March 1875, when she was finally sold to be broken up.
"I did not say that the French will not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Lord St Vincent


BloQcs design by Bloc
SMF 2.0.11 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines