News: In June 1557 Edmund Allin, his wife and five others were burnt at the stake, where Drakes pub now stands in Fairmeadow, Maidstone, for refusing to accept Catholicism.
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Author Topic: HMS Carysfort (1766 - 1813)  (Read 3542 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Bilgerat

  • Established Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1121
  • Appreciation 265
HMS Carysfort (1766 - 1813)
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2015, 21:25:34 »
HMS Carysfort was a 9pdr armed, 28 gun, sixth-rate frigate of the Coventry Class, built by the Royal Dockyard at Sheerness.

The 28 gun, sixth rate frigate was the smallest vessel of the Royal Navy to meet the definition of a Frigate. Vessels carrying 20 or more guns, but less than 28 guns were classed as sixth rate Post Ships.

The Coventry Class was a group of 19 small frigates designed by Sir Thomas Slade, Co-Surveyor of the Navy at the time, of which nine were built in Kent shipyards. The Coventry Class were built in four batches. The first batch of four ships were all ordered in 1756. The second batch of five ships were all built from fir rather than oak for speed of construction and all had short service careers. They were all ordered in 1757. The third batch of nine ships, of which HMS Carysfort was a part, eight of which were also ordered in 1757. They were all oak-built. Although a batch three ship, HMS Carysfort was the last to be ordered, with Sheerness Dockyard not being ordered to build her until 1761. The fourth batch, of two ships was not ordered until 1782, though in the end only one was built. This is because the order for the second ship was cancelled after the shipyard contracted to build her went bust and the contract was not re-placed with anyone else. Sir Thomas Slade is now more famous for what is widely regarded as his masterpiece, the first rate ship HMS Victory.

HMS Carysfort was ordered from the Royal Dockyard at Sheerness by the Navy Board on 20th February 1761. At the time the ship was ordered, the Seven Years War was at it's height and the naval element of the war was going very well for the British. From the beginning of the war, the Royal Navy had taken the war to their French and Spanish enemies by attacking their overseas possessions in places all over the world from India and the Pacific Ocean to the Carribean. For that reason, the Seven Years War is regarded as being the first true world war. The Royal Dockyard at Sheerness was working flat out with the repair of warships in addition to the fitting out of warships built at private shipyards on the East and South Kent coasts. In addition to that, the Dockyard at Sheerness only had one slipway and at the time the order for HMS Carysfort came in, that slipway was reserved for the construction of two Niger Class, 12pdr armed, 32 gun frigates. When the order arrived, HMS Montreal was in the final stages of construction and when that ship was launched in September 1761, construction of the next one, HMS Winchelsea began. That ship wasn't launched until May of 1764. For that reason her first keel section wasn't laid on the slipway at Sheerness until June of 1764, by which time the war was over. Her construction was overseen by two Master Shipwrights at Sheerness. Mr John Williams supervised the work in the Mould Loft and the initial stages of her build and when he was promoted to the position of Master Shipwright at Deptford Royal Dockyard in June 1765, he handed the project to his successor at Sheerness, Mr William Gray. He oversaw her final construction and launch on 23rd August 1766. HMS Carysfort was fitted with her guns, masts and rigging at Sheerness and was commissioned into the Royal Navy under Captain George Vandeput in June 1767.

On completion, HMS Carysfort was a ship of 586 tons. She was 118ft 4in long on her gundeck, 97ft 3in long at her keel and 33ft 8in wide across her beams. Her hold below the orlop was 10ft 6in deep. HMS Carysfort was armed with 24 9pdr long guns on her gundeck, 4 3pdr long guns on her quarterdeck and in addition to those there were a dozen half-pounder swivel guns attached to her upper deck handrails and in her fighting tops. She was manned by a crew of 200 officers, men, boys and Royal Marines.

Plans of HMS Carysfort

Half-plans for the Orlop, Berth or Lower Deck, Upper or Gun Deck and Quarterdeck and Forecastle:



Inboard Profile and Plan:



Sheer Plan and Lines:



A model of HMS Guadeloupe, also a Coventry Class frigate. HMS Carysfort was identical:



If you look carefully at the model above, you will see a small square port beside each gunport. This port is for a sweep or a large oar. These were used as a last resort for manoeuvring the ship while becalmed or for working out of a port in adverse winds. 28 gun sixth rate frigates like HMS Carysfort were the largest ships to be fitted to carry sweeps. Bigger vessels would need to be towed by their boats if the situation called for it.

HMS Carysfort was Captain Vandeput's second appointment after promotion to Captain. His previous appointment had been as Captain in the 20 gun post-ship HMS Surprise. Prior to that, until the end of the war in 1763, he had been Master and Commander in the ten-gun brig-sloop HMS Goree. That vessel had originally been built way back in 1729 as the hoy HMS Hayling but had been converted to carry ten 6pdr long guns, rerigged as a brig and renamed. The normal size of a hoy was around the 60 ton mark and they carried a single mast, but HMS Goree was twice that size. Vandeput had been her final commander before the vessel had been decommissioned and broken up in 1763. With the end of the Seven Years War, thousands of sailors of all ranks were being laid off. At the end of his appointment as Master and Commander in an unrated vessel and without a further appointment, an officer like George Vandeput would normally have reverted to his substantive rank of Lieutenant and would have been laid off on half pay. However, George Vandeput's father, also George was not only a Vice-Admiral, but was a Baronet and an MP to boot, so it's hardly suprising that the junior George Vandeput was promoted at the end of his appointment in HMS Goree and given a command as soon as one became available.

On 20th September 1767, HMS Carysfort sailed for the Mediterranean. Her role would have been that of a Royal Navy frigate in peacetime, that of showing the flag and protecting British shipping against attacks by Barbary Corsairs and other pirates.

In February 1770, Captain Vandeput was appointed to command the 28 gun sixth rate frigate HMS Solebay and his place in HMS Carysfort was taken by Captain William Hay. Captain Vandeput went on to have a long career in the Royal Navy. Despite being an illegitimate son, he inherited the baronetcy on his father's death and rose to become a full Admiral and served as Commander-in-Chief of the North America Station based in Halifax, Nova Scotia from 1797 until his death at sea in 1800 aboard his flagship, the 64 gun third rate ship of the line HMS Asia.

Captain William Hay was an experienced commander who had first held a command at the beginning of the Seven Years War, so was an ideal candidate to command a frigate in peacetime, able to make his own decisions and act on his own initiative, potentially thousands of miles from the nearest higher authority. Shortly after assuming command of HMS Carysfort, Captain Hay received orders to take his ship to the West Indies, to carry out the same role as before, but based in Jamaica. The ship continued in this role until July 1773, when she returned home to Plymouth and was paid off.

Although HMS Carysfort was decommissioned, she was never fitted for the Ordinary and spent the next two and a half years secured to a mooring bouy at Plymouth. She would have had a skeleton crew aboard, consisting of her Boatswain, her Gunner, her Carpenter, a Pursers Mate and their respective servants and any maintenance work which would have been required was carried out by gangs of labourers from the dockyard who would have come out to the ship to carry it out.

In December 1775, the ship was recommissioned to serve in home waters under Captain Robert Fanshawe. By this time, war was in the air. In order to try to service the huge mountain of debt run up during the Seven Years War, the British Government had attempted to impose taxes on the colonies in America. This had led to political protests, which had escalated into civil unrest and by the time the ship recommissioned, had escalated into a full-scale armed rebellion, with regular British troops being driven off by the part-time soldiers of the Massachusetts Militia in the skirmishes at Concord and Lexington.

The war continued to escalate and between April and May 1777, HMS Carysfort underwent a short refit at Plymouth.

Meanwhile, in America, things were going from bad to worse. From 1776, the French had been secretly supplying arms, ammunition and money to the American rebels. Their support escalated into ships operating under rebel colours as privateers and what would today be called 'Military Advisors'. After the rebels defeated the British in two battles at Saratoga in 1777, the French invited the rebels to conclude a Treaty of Alliance. King Louis XVI was concerned at reports that following their defeats at Saratoga and the fact that up to that point the rebels were winning, that the British were about to make major concessions. The reports were true. The British parliament had proposed offering the Americans terms which basically gave them what they wanted. These were, never to impose taxes on the colonies again from London without the consent of the people, not to station more troops in the colonies, to repeal all the objectionable acts, full pardons for everyone involved in the rebellion and a cessation of hostilities. A commission was formed which was empowered to negotiate directly with the rebels and agree whatever terms were needed.  In order to thwart this, the French signed the Treaty of Alliance with the Americans on 6th February 1778. This Treaty formally recognised the United States of America for the first time and committed the Americans to seeking nothing less than full independence from the UK in return for unlimited amounts of military assistance and money from France. The British hoped that the Americans would respond positively to their offers, but the Americans demanded that the British withdraw all their troops or formally recognise American independence before they were willing to negotiate with the Commission. Their advances to the Americans rejected, on June 17th 1778, Britain formally declared war on France.

By September 1778, HMS Carysfort was engaged in operations against the Americans and was the flagship of a force of troopships carrying some 4,000 troops commanded by Major-General Charles Grey, the First Earl Grey. His force of troops had been ordered by General Sir Henry Clinton, the Army Commander-in-Chief, to reduce the area around the Connecticut and Massachusetts Coasts from Long Island as far north as Cape Cod. This was to be achieved by means of a series of large-scale amphibious raids. In the first raid, the fleet sailed up the Acushnet River towards New Bedford and Fairhaven. The troops were landed on Clarks Point on 4th September and spent the night and the next day burning wharves, warehouses and vessels along the whole length of the river. On 6th September, a raid was launched against Fairhaven, but this raid was repelled by a stout defence conducted by the Massachusetts Militia. On September 10th, the force raided the island of Martha's Vineyard and seized livestock totalling 10,000 sheep, 130 oxen plus arms and money. The force arrived back in New York on 17th September with the raids having been a success.

In November 1778, Captain Fanshawe was appointed to command the 64 gun third rate ship of the line HMS Monmouth and his place in command of HMS Carysfort was taken by Captain William Cumming. HMS Carysfort was his first appointment after promotion to Captain, his previous appointment had been as Master and Commander in the storeship HMS Supply. By this time the ship had returned to the UK and had paid off for a refit in Plymouth. As part of this work, her armament was increased with the replacement of her forecastle and quarterdeck 3pdr guns with 6pdr long guns. To these were added a total of 6 18pdr carronades, four on the quarterdeck and two on the forecastle. Once the work was complete, the ship commissioned into the Downs Squadron of the North Sea Fleet. On 13th June 1779, HMS Carysfort had her first success in her new assignement when she captured the French privateer L'Esperance. In November 1780, Captain Cumming was replaced in command by Captain William Peacock. HMS Carysfort was his first appointment as Captain, his previous appointment had been as Master and Commander in the gun-brig HMS Childers of ten guns and the following month, the ship sailed once again to join the ongoing war in America. On 24th May 1780, Captain Peacock had his first success in command of the ship when they captured the American privateer General Galvez.

HMS Carysfort continued serving in the waters off North America for the rest of the war. In October 1781, following the failure of the Royal Navy to secure the entrance to Chesapeake Bay in the Battle of Chesapeake Bay in the September, General Charles, the Lord Cornwallis was forced to surrender with his army in the Seige of Yorktown. This left the British with insufficient troops to defend their possessions in North America and on 27th February 1782, the British Parliament voted to cease all offensive operations in North America and to seek peace. Despite the overwhelming victories of Sir George Rodney and Sir Samuel Hood in the Battle of the Saintes and the Battle of Mona Passage in April 1782, back in London, political support for the already unpopular war evaporated and the Government of Lord North fell. In late April 1782, Parliament voted to end the war, recognise American Independence and open peace negotiations with France, Spain and Holland. The negotiations resulted in the Treaty of Paris, which was signed by all the parties in September 1783 and was effective from March 1784. The last major British possession in mainland North America, New York City, was finally evacuated in November 1783. The Loyalist communities in North America and those Native American tribes who had been allied to the British and the Loyalist cause were left to their fate.

In the meantime, in December 1782, Captain Peacock was replaced in command of HMS Carysfort by Captain John Markham, with orders to take the ship back to Deptford and pay her and her crew off, which he did in January 1783. HMS Carysfort's war was over.

HMS Carysfort remained laid up in the River Thames, secured to a mooring bouy off the Royal  Dockyard at Deptford until April 1785 she was taken upstream to a private shipyard at Rotherhithe in Surrey to undergo a Great Repair. This would have amounted to a virtual rebuilding of the ship and she emerged from this in an 'as new' condition three months later at a cost of 15,255. The ship returned to her bouy off the Royal Dockyard at Deptford where she remained until November the following year. In January 1787, the ship completed fitting for sea at Deptford Royal Dockyard and was commissioned under Captain Matthew Smith. HMS Carysfort was his first command appointment after having paid off the ex-Dutch 20 gun post-ship HMS Saint Eustatius at the end of the war. Captain Smith took the ship to the Mediterranean, where she was engaged in patrolling, showing the flag and protecting British merchant shipping from Barbary Corsairs.

She remained in the Mediterranean until May of 1790, when Captain Smith paid the ship and her crew off back at Deptford. Despite the Spanish Armaments Crisis, HMS Carysfort remained laid up in the River Thames until shortly after the outbreak of the French Revolutionary War in February 1793. In April 1793, HMS Carysfort was once again taken into the Deptford Royal Dockyard and was fitted for sea. The work was completed in September 1793 and the ship recommissioned into the Channel Fleet under Captain Francis Laforey. HMS Carysfort was his first appointment as Captain; his previous appointment had been as Master and Commander in the 14 gun ship-sloop HMS Fairy.

HMS Carysfort was engaged in enforcing the blockade of the French Atlantic coast and patrolling the English Channel looking for marauding French privateers and warships hoping to prey on British merchant shipping. On 29th May 1794, HMS Carysfort was engaged in a patrol off Lands End when sails were spotted in the distance. These sails belonged to a Dutch merchant brig which was being towed by the ex-HMS Castor, a 12pdr armed 36 gun frigate which had been captured on 9th May when she and her convoy had run into a squadron of French ships of the line. The French immediately cast off the brig and Captain Laforey took his ship into action. On paper, the Castor was markedly superior to HMS Carysfort, having more men, bigger guns and more of them. After an hour and fifteen minutes however, the Castor struck her colours in surrender to Captain Laforey and his men. HMS Carysfort had suffered casualties of one seaman killed and three seamen and one marine wounded. She had suffered some slight damage in her masts, rigging and hull. The Castor on the other hand had had her main topgallant mast shot away, the rest of her main mast was also badly damaged and her hull had been penetrated in several places. She had suffered sixteen officers, marines and seamen killed with nine wounded. On taking possession of the Castor the British learned that the ship was on her way to Lorient to be fitted for service in the French Navy. The French crew of the Castor had been drafted from amongst the crews of the French ships of the line which had captured her and they were totally unfamiliar with the arrangement of the rigging and really only had the slightest idea how to actually operate the ship. The British also freed a Masters Mate and 18 seamen who, being the remainder of her original British crew, were prisoners of war aboard and were presumably there to show the French how to operate the ship. The rest of the ships officers and crew including her captain, Captain Thomas Troubridge, were still being held aboard the flagship of Rear-Admiral Nielly, the French officer commanding the squadron, the Sans Pareil. The would later be freed when the Sans Pareil was captured by HMS Majestic at the Battle of the Glorious First of June.

The Capture of the Castor by Thomas Whitcombe:



In the meantime, Captain Laforey took the Castor back to Plymouth. On arrival, the Royal Navy refused to pay Captain Laforey or his men any prize-money for the ship. The reason they gave was that Laforey and the men of HMS Carysfort had simply restored HMS Castor to service. They claimed that because the ship had never been to a French dockyard and been converted for French use, she didn't fall within the legal definition of a Prize and all they were entitled to was a payment related to the salvage of the ship. Captain Laforey and his officers were having none of this and the matter came before an Admiralty Court chaired by Sir James Marriot, a senior judge. After hearing the evidence, including a statement from the French captain, M. L'Huillier, he ruled that because the French admiral in command of the squadron which had captured the ship had full powers to condemn, arm, fit out, man and equip any vessels captured by his ships as he saw fit and that on capture by HMS Carysfort, the Castor had a French crew with a French captain, the ship did fall within the definition of a Prize and that the Royal Navy must pay Captain Laforey and his men her full value. HMS Castor was therefore purchased by the Government and was taken back into the Royal Navy. As a reward for his good conduct during the capture of the Castor, Mr Richard Worsley, HMS Carysfort's First Lieutenant, was appointed Master and Commander in the 16 gun ship-sloop HMS Calypso on 24th June 1794.

Later in 1794, HMS Caryfort's armament received a considerable boost when her 18pdr carronades were replaced by 24pdr carronades.

Captain Francis Laforey remained in command of HMS Carysfort until he was appointed to command the ex-French 12pdr armed 32 gun frigate HMS L'Aimable in June 1795. He rose to fame when he commanded the ex-French 74 gun third rate ship of the line HMS Spartiate at the Battle of Trafalgar. He rose to become a Rear-Admiral, was knighted in 1815 and died in 1835.

Captain Laforey's replacement in HMS Carysfort was Captain John Murray whose previous appointment had been as captain in the ex-French sixth-rate post-ship HMS Babet of 20 guns.

In the beginning of 1794, the French government was contemplating sending an expedition to attack British commerce in India and to reinforce French garrisons in the region. Knowing that the Royal Navy was pretty much tied up in the Mediterranean, the English Channel, the North Sea and the Carribean, they concluded that British possessions in the far east would be relatively unprotected and would be easy targets. Rich pickings would be had by raiding and plundering them. The expedition was originally due to be commanded by Rear-Admiral Kerguelen with three 74 gun ships, three large frigates plus smaller vessels. Over time, losses mounted in the French Atlantic Fleet with their defeats at the Battle of the Glorious First of June, the Battle of Ile Groix and of course, the continuous blockade. This forced the French to alter their plans, so that by the time the expedition actually sailed on 4th March 1796, it was under the command of Rear-Admiral Sercey and was to comprise the 44 gun frigate Forte, the 36 gun frigate Regeneree, the en-flute armed frigate Seine, the ship-corvette Bonne Citoyenne and the brig-corvette Mutine. The ships were carrying 800 troops, with two companies of artillery and all the stores and ammunition needed. Things began to go wrong immediately. The force was caught in a storm soon after leaving Lorient. The Bonne Citoyenne parted company from the squadron on 7th March after sustaining damage in the storm. This damage slowed the ship sufficiently that she was able to be caught and captured by a force of British frigates led by Captain Robert Stopford in HMS Phaeton. Soon afterward, the Mutine lost her main topmast and was also quickly caught and captured by the British. The Seine also lost her main topmast but was able to recover it and repair the damage.

In the meantime, Captain Murray was replaced in command of HMS Carysfort by Captain Thomas Alexander. Captain Murray was appointed to command the 18pdr armed 36 gun frigate HMS Crescent. 

The French continued to make their way around the Cape of Good Hope and arrived in the port of St Denis on Reunion Island on 18th July 1796. Other ships had also joined the French force so that by this time, Rear-Admiral Sercey's force comprised six large frigates. Also in the force was the privateer schooner Alerte. On 19th August, the Alerte's master decided that he was going to run down and capture a British East Indiaman he had spotted. Little did he know that the East Indiaman was escorted by a frigate of the Royal Navy, HMS Carysfort and no sooner that he had launched his attack, the British frigate arrived on the scene and the Alerte's crew very quickly found themselves prisoners of war. So quick had been the British frigate, that the French had not had the time to throw their confidential papers overboard and the British came into possession of Rear-Admiral Sercey's plans and detailed orders. The French were unaware of this disaster until the force which the British dispatched to deal with them finally caught up with them on 7th September 1796 and brought the French squadron to action. Two British 74 gun, third rate ships of the line, HMS Victorious and HMS Arrogant inflicted such damage on the French force that they were eventually forced to call off the expedition and return to France, all thanks to the swift action of HMS Carysfort and her crew.

In December 1796, Captain Alexander was replaced in command by Captain John Turnor. On 16th December 1799, HMS Carysfort arrived in Plymouth. Amongst her crew was the only survivor of HMS Resistance, a 44 gun two-decker which had blown up while laying off Sumatra. Originally, sixteen men had survived the accident and they had survived on a raft which they were trying to sail to Sumatra. A storm had blown up and only five of the men survived this. They were captured by Malay tribesmen, but only one of them managed to escape alive and he was eventually picked up by HMS Carysfort.

After her return to the UK, HMS Carysfort was assigned to the Channel Fleet and between April and June of 1801, HMS Carysfort underwent a refit at Portsmouth. On 24th August 1803, HMS Carysfort in company with the armed cutter HMS Fox captured the French vessel La Dunkerque.

On 26th March 1804, HMS Carysfort in company with the 18pdr armed 36 gun frigate HMS Apollo left the Cove of Cork with a convoy of 69 merchant ships bound for the Caribbean. At 3am, off the coast of Portugal, heading south-south-east in a strong south-westerly gale, HMS Apollo ran aground and was wrecked with the loss of 61 officers and men, as were over 20 ships of the convoy. In appalling weather, Captain Robert Fanshawe of HMS Carysfort had no option but to order the rest of the convoy to head out to sea and continue their voyage to the West Indies.

The ship remained in the West Indies until she was ordered to escort a homebound convoy in company with the armed storeship HMS Dolphin in June of 1806.(see here for her story: http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=18359). At the time, this convoy was being hunted by a squadron of French ships of the line under the French Admiral Willaumez. HMS Carysfort and her convoy managed to avoid being caught by the French and made it safely back to the UK.

On arrival in the UK, HMS Carysfort was paid off and laid up at Deptford. The reason was that not only was she by now forty years old, but that small frigates like her were by now obsolete. HMS carysfort remained secured to a mooring bouy off the Royal Dockyard at Deptford until she was sold for 1800 on 28th April 1813 and 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