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ACTIVE (38) Built in 1799, Chatham.
Hospital ship 1826.

  • 1800 Capt. Charles Sydney DAVERS, 12/1799. Chatham.
    ACTIVE brought a large convoy of vessels bound for the West Indies, Oporto and the Mediterranean down the Channel from the Downs at the beginning of April and on 28 June she sailed from Portsmouth with six East Indiamen, a ship and a brig under convoy.
    Capt. John GIFFARD commanded ACTIVE in the autumn and sailed on a cruise on 29 October and returned on the 9th. of the following month.
  • 1801 During December and January ACTIVE continued cruising off Le Havre and at the end of February Capt. DANVERS resumed command and Capt. GIFFARD moved to LOIRE. During his time in ACTIVE he had captured the French privateer cutter QUINOLA of 14 guns and 48 men.
  • On 9 April 1801 a court martial was held on board GLADIATOR in Portsmouth to try John KING, John BETHAM, JOHN FOREST, WILLIAM BYRNE, A. M. SCOTT, Henry BLAKE, John PARISH and John MARSH of ACTIVE for writing anonymous letters, making mutinous assemblies and uttering seditious words. KING was sentenced to receive 500 lashes, BETHAM and OREST, 300 each, and BYRNE (50) from ship to ship; SCOTT and PARISH 36 lashes each on board ACTIVE. MARSH was acquitted.
  • On 25 May ACTIVE and LEDA, with 300 of the Guards and 120,000 in dollars on board, sailed from Portsmouth bound for Egypt.
    She returned to Portsmouth on 13 July 1802.
    When she arrived in Lisbon on 27 March after a three day passage from Gibraltar on her way home, she and CONSTANCE were ordered to remain quarantine. At the packet-boat stairs the crews of the barges belonging to the two captains were seized by the police and, when the captains protested, they themselves were detained by the captain of the guard. In spite of protests by his Royal Highness the Duke of Sussex and General Fraser they were kept in captivity from eleven at night until the following midday.
    ACTIVE returned to the Mediterranean and at the beginning of March 1803 she was lying at Malta.
  • 1803 Capt. Richard Hussey MOUBRAY, 08/1803, an appointment by Lord NELSON.
    He was principally employed close inshore off Toulon.
    On 16 January 1805 ACTIVE spoke a vessel from Marseilles who reported that 7,000 troops were embarked on board the French fleet and two days later ACTIVE and SEAHORSE, Capt. BOYLE, found themselves being chased by the whole enemy fleet which came out and steered south.
    Although they were sometimes within gunshot the two frigates escaped to warn NELSON who was anchored in the Maddalena Islands, north of Sardinia.
    NELSON assumed that Villeneuve was bound round the south end of Sardinia and thence to Egypt so he sailed on the evening of the 19th. to intercept him.
  • In fact the French turned north for home, and sailed from Toulon for the West Indies on 31 March.
    They were spotted by ACTIVE and PHOEBE early in the morning and, while Capt. CAPEL in PHOEBE went to warn NELSON, Capt. MOUBRAY sailed S. W. on a parallel course with the French until he lost them during the night.
    ACTIVE was then sent to inform the fleets off Brest and Ireland. She remained off Ireland for a time and, on 27 April 1806, captured the French letter of marque schooner AMI (4) taking wine from Bordeaux to Cayenne.
  • ACTIVE returned to the Mediterranean to accompany Sir John DUCKWORTH to the Dardanelles in February 1807 as part of Sir Thomas LOUIS' squadron. The fleet entered Dardanelles on the 19th. Between the narrow passage of Sestros and Abydos and Point Pesquies they found a squadron of Turkish warships lying at anchor under a formidable battery of 31 heavy guns on the point and, while POMPEE, THUNDERER and STANDARD anchored amongst them, ACTIVE continued under sail and engaged a 56-gun frigate. The enemy ship cut her cables and was driven ashore on the European side and although the boats were pelted by shot thrown by hand, Lieuts. George WILLES and Walter CROKER managed to board her through the stern windows, laid a train to the magazine and blew her up.
    ACTIVE had 8 men wounded including the Boatswain who died later.
    Capt. MOUBRAY was ordered to remain off Point Pesquies to protect the party from POMPEE destroying the battery there. As the fleet returned through the Dardanelles on 3 March ACTIVE was hit by a granite shot weighing 800 pounds and 6 ft. 6 ins. in diameter. It passed through the side about 2 ft above the water line and finished up on the orlop deck without injuring anyone.
  • ACTIVE remained cruising in the Archipelago before sailing to Malta for repairs. She was then employed in the Adriatic and, on 26 May 1808 off Cape Blanco she and STANDARD captured the Italian brig FRIEDLAND (16) after several hours chase in which the enemy's masts went over the side. She had on board the C-in-C of the Italian Marine, Amilcar Paolucci.
    Capt. MOUBRAY was then appointed to MONTAGU.
  • 1809 Capt. James Alexander GORDON. Early in 1809 escorted a fleet of merchantmen to England and paid off. In August he re-commissioned her and returned to the Mediterranean.
  • After AMPHION's boats chased a convoy from Trieste into the harbour at Grao on the morning of 28 June 1810, her captain, William HOSTE, telegraphed CERBERUS and ACTIVE to assemble their boats and marines alongside that evening. ACTIVE was too far off for her boats to reach Grao in time for the first assault and the two castles at the mouth of the river had been taken by they arrived. There was heavy fighting in which both officers and men were engaged in hand to hand combat and eight of the enemy were killed by the bayonet. When the French positions were charged a lieutenant, a sergeant and thirty-eight troops of the 81st. regiment were taken prisoner. ACTIVE's boats under Lieut. FOLEY arrived at this moment and helped secure the position. A party of French troops from the village of Maran made an attack just before noon and Lieuts. SLAUGHTER, MOORE and MEARS of ACTIVE immediately counter attacked and the enemy surrendered after losing two killed. A lieutenant and twenty-two Frenchmen of the 5th. regiment of light infantry were taken prisoner.
    There were twenty-five vessels laden with stores and merchandise moored in the river above the town and it being low water it was late in the evening before they could be got afloat. Much of the cargo had to be shifted into fourteen or fifteen smaller vessels before they could be got over the bar.
    At seven in the evening the whole detachment came off to the squadron which was anchored about four miles out and everything was secured by eight o'clock. Eleven vessels were burnt in the river and five with cargoes were sent to Lissa.
  • On 3 February 1811 the barges of ACTIVE and CERBERUS, under the command of Lieut. George HAYE of the former, brought out four Venetian trabaccolos under a heavy fire of musketry from the port of Pestichi on the N. E. coast of Italy.
    Francis FREE, a landsman from ACTIVE was the only man wounded.
  • They watered at Lissa and then sailed on the 9th. to reconnoitre the coast of Italy and on the 12th. Lieut. James DICKINSON of CERBERUS took the boats of the two ships in to Ortano in an attempt to bring out several vessels lying there.
    They immediately came under fire from an armed traboccolo and troops on the beach but by running in close order they scattered the enemy.
    Lieut. DICKINSON landed with Lieut. MEARS of the ACTIVE's marines and took up a position on the hills while the launches under Lieuts. HAYE and CAMPSON and ACTIVE's barge under under Mr James GIBSON, master's mate of that ship, covered them with carronades.
    Eleven merchant vessels were found in the harbour laden with grain and oil.
    Some were brought out and others were burnt after their cargo had been removed and two magazines with oil, ammunition and naval stores destined for Corfu were destroyed.
    British casualties were only four wounded.
  • On the morning of 13 March 1811 ACTIVE, off the island of Lissa, made a signal to AMPHION, Capt. William HOSTE, of a strange fleet to windward and at daylight they discovered a joint French and Italian squadron consisting of five frigates, one corvette and five smaller vessels.
  • The enemy formed two divisions and bore down on them so the British ships, AMPHION, CERBERUS, ACTIVE and VOLAGE formed a line on the starboard tack to receive them.
    Their close order prevented the enemy from breaking the line and when the French commodore in FAVORITE attempted to round the van ship he was so warmly received that his ship went ashore and soon blew up with a tremendous explosion.
    AMPHION, close inshore, continued to engage the rest of the enemy's starboard division while the larboard division remained to windward engaging ACTIVE, CERBERUS and VOLAGE.
    Soon the FLORA struck followed 40 minutes later by the BELLONA.
    Unfortunately while Capt. HOSTE was closing with BELLONA, FLORA made off.
    Even the French prisoners agreed that she had struck and that AMPHION or ACTIVE would have been justified in reopening fire even though her colours had been lowered (see AMPHION for HOSTE's correspondence on the matter).
    The enemy to windward now attempted to escape but, disabled though they were, ACTIVE and CERBERUS were able to force the sternmost, CORONA, to surrender.
    The two remaining frigates made sail for Lessina and the small craft fled in every direction but the British frigates were in no state to go after them.
  • The French squadron under Capt. Dubourdieu, who was killed, had sailed from Ancona on the 11th. with 500 troops to occupy the island of Lissa.
  • After the battle ACTIVE was towing CORONA into port when the prize caught fire and soon the whole of her main-mast and rigging were in flames.
    Knowing that she had a number of primed shells on board Capt. GORDON ordered her to be cut adrift.
    There was nothing that the squadron could do to help the prize crew under Lieut. George Haye but through their own efforts they managed to bring the fire under control.
    Many of the prisoners were drowned when they jumped overboard to swim to ACTIVE.
  • ACTIVE lost fifteen killed or who died of wounds William KING, OS; William CLARKE, OS; John BARRINGTON, yeoman of the sheets; George HARKER, Q. M's mate; Patrick DONOLLY, OS; George COONBER, AB; James QUINN, boatswain's mate; Thomas HORTON, captain of the foretop; John DAWSON, quarter gunner, and Evan WILLIAMS, OS.
    The five lost in extinguishing the fire aboard the prize BELLONA were William WALDRON, AB; Thomas DEANE, AB; George LARKIN, AB; Wistre VERNIONDES, landsman, and John WILCOX.
  • On 27 July 1811 ACTIVE's boats, with small-arm men and marines under the first lieutenant, Mr HENDERSON, were sent to attack a convoy which had taken shelter in a creek on the mainland opposite the island on which the town of Ragosniza stands.
    Three gunboats guarded the narrow entrance with armed men on each point.
    Lieut. HENDERSON and his party landed on the right and left Lieut. GIBSON with the boats to push for the gunboats the moment he made a signal from the top of the hill.
    When he gained the summit he found himself looking down on the gunboats and the 28 vessels of the convoy.
    In a simultaneous attack the boats boarded the gunboats after the shore party had fired only two volleys into them.
    The enemy crews jumped overboard and their guns were immediately turned on them as they fled.
    Eighteen of of the convoy were brought out with the gunboats and the rest burnt.
    They discovered that the convoy had been bound for Ragusa with grain for the French garrison and had been defended on shore by 300 armed men.
  • Lieut. HENDERSON was assisted by Lieut. George HAYE, who volunteered although he was an invalid, Lieut. Mears of the marines and Mr Charles Friend, master's mate. Lieut. GIBSON had with him in the boats Messrs. Henry LEW, Redmond MORIARTY, Norwich DUFF, Wm. SIMKINS, Joseph CAMILLERI, Nat. BARWELL, Chas. BENTHAM, George MOORE, Wm. WOOD and Wm. T. ROBINSON, midshipmen. No men were lost and only four were wounded in the boats. Capt. GORDON took his prizes to Lissa.
  • In November 1811 ACTIVE, ALCESTE and UNITE had been forced to leave their anchorage before Lugina by strong gales and had taken shelter in Lissa.
    The three ships were warped out of Port St. George on the 28th. when the signal station on Whitby Hill reported three suspicious sail to the southward.
    The following day the enemy, three French frigates, were seen off the island of Augusta forming into line but, as soon as they saw the British ships in line abreast, they bore up to the N. W. and the rear ship, PERSANNE, separated. UNITE went after her and took her after a long chase. PAULINE and POMONE were chased by ALCESTE and ACTIVE. POMONE was taken, totally dismasted, but the other escaped.
  • ACTIVE lost eight killed: George OSBORNE, midshipman; William BULL, quarter master; James RICHARDSON, sailmaker's crew; Thomas TURNER and William SMITH, seamen, John CLAGGETT, landsman; Robert Hill, sergeant and John Conway, private of marines. Capt. GORDON was badly wounded. He had been standing on a shot-rank leaning on the capstan, when a 36 pound shot came in through a port-hole, took off a seaman's leg and struck the captain on the knee-joint carrying off his leg.
    The first lieutenant, William Bateman DASHWOOD, took command but soon afterwards he lost an arm and Lieut. George HAYE finished the action. ACTIVE had 27 wounded including 2 mortally.
    Mr Norwich DUFF was sent to take possession of the prize but the boat was upset and it was some time before he and his men could be rescued because all the other boats were damaged by shot. Capt. MAXWELL of ALCESTE sent the sword of the French commander of POMONE to Capt. GORDON.
    ACTIVE went to Malta for a refit.
    Capt. GORDON survived the amputation, recovered his health and was appointed to SEAHORSE in 1812.
  • 1812 In ordinary at Sheerness, later at Woolwich.
  • 1815 Capt. Philip CARTERET (later SILVESTER), 09/1815, Jamaica station.
    ACTIVE returned to England in 1817.
  • 1818 Portsmouth.
  • 1819 Capt. Sir James Alexander GORDON, 01/1819, Portsmouth. ACTIVE was paid off after attending on George IV during his visit to Ireland in 1821.
  • 1822 Capt. Andrew KING, 12/1821, Portsmouth Mediterranean, until September 1824.
  • 1825 Plymouth.

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