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ALEXANDER (74) 3rd rate Built in 1778, Deptford DY.
Broken up in 1819.

  • 1782 Capt. T. FITZHERBERT, Portsmouth for foreign service.
  • 1793 Capt. J WEST.
  • 1794 Capt. Richard Rodney BLIGH, 06/1794, fitting out at Chatham.
    While she was returning to England from the coast of Spain with CANADA after escorting a convoy she was captured by a French squadron of five 74's and three large frigates under Rear Ad. Neilly on 6 November 1794. Her officers were: Lieuts. GODENCH, EPWORTH, CARTER, WEST and DARRACOTT; Mr ROBINSON, master; Mr BURNS, boatswain and Mr M'CURDY, pilot, who were both wounded. CANADA escaped through superior sailing.
    On arrival at Brest ALEXANDER's people were stripped of all their possessions, put first on board a prison ship and then transferred to a castle.
    The French renamed their prize ALEXANDRE and she was with a French fleet off Belle Isle on 22 June 1795 when they were discovered by 17 sail of the Channel fleet under Lord BRIDPORT. He ordered general chase.
    Early the following morning, as the French ships stood in for the land, a French frigate took ALEXANDRE in tow and with two others opened fire on IRRESISTABLE. The frigate soon cut ALEXANDRE adrift and she was taken back into the Royal Navy. TIGRE was captured in the same action.
  • 1798 Capt. Alexander John BALL, 01/1797, Mediterranean.
    Lord NELSON in VANGUARD was detached by Earl St. VINCENT in to the Mediterranean with ORION, ALEXANDER, EMERALD, TERPSICHORE and BONNE CITOYENNE under his orders.
    They sailed from Gibraltar on 9 May 1798 and on the 22nd the squadron was struck by a violent storm in the Gulf of Lyons which carried away first VANGUARD's topmasts and then her fore-mast.
    The other ships were not so badly damaged and the squadron bore up for Sardinia, the ALEXANDER taking VANGUARD in tow.
    They anchored in St. Pierre's Road on the 24th. where, despite official hostility from the neutral governor ashore, who was under French orders to ban British ships, managed to repair the damage from their own resources (and private help from the Governor) and make sail again four days to search for the French fleet which had sailed from Toulon on the day of the storm.
  • On 5 June they were joined by MUTINE which brought the news that Capt. TROUBRIDGE had been detached with ten sail of the line and a 50-gun ship to reinforce them.
    The following day the squadron spread out to search for the reinforcements. ALEXANDER stopped a Spanish ship and found on board eighty or ninety priests driven out of Rome by French persecution. As an act of humanity Capt. BALL released her after taking off a number of volunteers, chiefly Genoese, who wished to serve with the British fleet.
    They met up with Capt. TROUBRIDGE at noon on the 8th. and NELSON sent MUTINE to Civita Vecchia in search of information whilst the fleet steered first for Corsica, which was reached on the 12th., and then on to the Roman coast. They were off Naples on the 16th. and Capt. TROUBRIDGE went ashore in MUTINE to learn from Sir William Hamilton that the French had gone towards Malta.
    Four days later the British fleet passed through the Straits of Messina where they learned that the French had already surrendered Malta except for Valetta. They had hopes of catching up with the French, who were reported to have anchored off Gozo, but on the 22nd MUTINE learned from a Genoese brig that the French had sailed again on the 18th.
    NELSON made the signal to bear up and steer to the S. E. with all possible sail and on the 29th. they reached Alexandria, only to find the harbour empty.
    He at once turned north in search of intelligence and to supply his ships with water. They made the coast of Caramanea on 4 July and steered along the coast of Candia against a contrary wind to reach Sicily on the 18th.
    They watered in Syracuse over five days and sailed again on the 25th. making for the Gulf of Coron. Here Capt. TROUBRIDGE took the CULLODEN in and learned that the French had been seen steering to the S. E. about four weeks previously. After a stay of only three hours the British fleet was off again, back to Alexandria.
    On the evening of 31 July ALEXANDER and SWIFTSURE were sent on ahead to reconnoitre the port but the following day it was Capt. HOOD in ZEALOUS who discovered 16 French ships anchored in Aboukir Bay.
    ALEXANDER and SWIFTSURE were recalled and GOLIATH and ZEALOUS led the fleet into the bay to attack the enemy.
    With ORION, AUDACIOUS and THESEUS they anchored inside the French line and were immediately in close action. VANGUARD anchored on the outside of the enemy and then MINOTAUR, DEFENCE, BELLEROPHON, MAJESTIC, SWIFTSURE and ALEXANDER came up in succession to anchor opposite the enemy ships. The 50-gun LEANDER dropped anchor athwart hawse of the French FRANKLIN.
    The action commenced at half past six, sunset, and by seven they were fighting in complete darkness. Just after nine a fire was seen on the ORIENT and the few undamaged boats were sent to rescue about 70 Frenchmen before she blew up about 10 o'clock. A port fire from ORIENT fell on ALEXANDER's main royal but the resulting fire was put out in a few minutes.
    All the French ships were either captured or destroyed except for GENEREUX and GUILLAUME TELL which, with the frigates JUSTICE and DIANE stood out to sea pursued by ZEALOUS. But as there was no other ship in a condition to support Capt. HOOD he was soon recalled. ALEXANDER lost 14 men killed and 8 wounded out of 590. She was so damaged in the battle that NELSON ordered that, after her masts had been reduced and secured, she was to be sent down the Mediterranean unless she was particularly needed. In fact she arrived at Naples on 16 September and she was patched up there for another two months service. Capt. BALL was anxious to get at the GUILLAUME TELL which had taken refuge in Valetta so ALEXANDER, AUDACIOUS, GOLIATH, EMERALD and INCENDIARY were stationed off Malta from 12 October. They were reinforced in the spring of 1799 by MINERVE, BONNE CITOYENNE and STROMBOLO with AFFONCO and BENJAMIN from the Portuguese squadron.
  • On 2 September 1798 the Maltese rose against the French who fortified themselves in Valetta with a garrison of about 3, 000 soldiers and sailors and 100 Maltese. About 10, 000 of the Maltese were armed and they had 23 guns. In a battle between them the French lost about 800 men, many were decapitated on the spot and the Maltese carried their heads about the islands on sticks.
  • On 28 October the commandant of the French troops on the island of Gozo signed a capitulation and Capt. BALL sent Capt. Creswell of the marines to take possession.
    The 217 enemy officers and men were assured of British protection against the people of Gozo and were taken on board ALEXANDER and MINOTAUR the following day to await transport to France on parole.
    3,200 sacks of corn were found in the castle and distributed among the inhabitants who were much in need of it.
    The British were responsible for feeding some 60, 000 people on the two islands.
    Some of the arms and ammunition were taken across to Malta to assist the fight against the French in Valetta.
  • On 21 January 1799 Lord NELSON wrote to Capt. BALL that the King of Naples was the legitimate sovereign of Malta but a Neapolitan garrison would betray it to the the first man who offered a bribe. He was sure that the king would have no difficulty in giving his sovereignty to England. England in fact had a veto on the disposal of the island as a precaution against the Russians taking it over.
  • On 20 March 1799 Capt. Ball had AUDACIOUS, GOLIATH, MINERVE, BONNE CITOYENNE, INCENDIARY and STROMBOLO under his command.
  • When ESPOIR arrived at Palermo on 12 May 1799 with news that the French fleet from Brest had escaped on 25 April when BRIDPORT had been driven ashore and had been seen off Oporto on its way to the Mediterranean, NELSON conjectured that they were bound for Malta and Alexandria so he recalled ALEXANDER and GOLIATH to reinforce his fleet. They joined him in the Bay of Naples on 17 June to give him 15 English two-deckers and 3 Portuguese. Ad. Bruix, instead of sweeping eastwards to attack ST. VINCENT's scattered squadrons made for Toulon where he arrived on 14 May.
  • While NELSON was at Palermo on the 21st. the rebels, who had formed the Neapolitan Republic and driven out the Royal Family back in December (see VANGUARD), surrendered.
    On the 27th. Capts. BALL and TROUBRIDGE with 1, 300 men landed from their ships with 500 Russians and a body of Royalists.
    Three days later ALEXANDER sailed to resume her station off Malta.
  • On 6 July marine private John Jolly of ALEXANDER was tried by court martial on board FOUDROYANT at Naples. He was charged by 2nd Lieut. Pearce of having struck Mr Pearce and threatening to shoot him when released. The court found him guilty and NELSON, confirming the sentence, ordered that he should be shot in front of his fellow marines on the 8th.
    At the same time, realising that the man was drunk, he wrote privately to Capt. TROUBRIDGE telling him to go through all the forms except the last, when the prisoner should be informed that his life was to be spared.
    Lord NELSON obtained a Royal pardon and, on 22 May 1800, wrote to Capt. ORMSBY, acting captain of ALEXANDER, saying that Jolly would be returned to his own ship at the first opportunity.
  • On 16 August 1799 NELSON reported that ALEXANDER was in a terrible state and must go to England for repair as soon as Malta was taken and he repeated on the 18th. and the 23 December that she was not fit to keep the sea.
  • On 15 February 1800 Lord KEITH, in QUEEN CHARLOTTE off Valetta, received information of a French attempt to support Malta and ordered Lord NELSON to the windward of the island, LION to the passage between Malta and Gozo and ALEXANDER off the S. E. of the island.
    On the morning of 18 February ALEXANDER, which was commanded by Lieut. William HARRINGTON in the absence of Capt. BALL, gave chase to a line-of-battle ship, three frigates and a corvette and at about 8 o'clock she fired on one of the frigates, which struck her colours. By this time NELSON had come up and he ordered AUDACIOUS and EL CORSO to secure the prize.
    At half past one the frigates and the corvette tacked to the westward but the line-of-battle ship, GENEREUX (74) could not tack without coming to action with ALEXANDER so she bore up and was raked with several broadsides from SUCCESS. FOUDROYANT and NORTHUMBERLAND joined in, the former firing two shots before GENEREUX struck her colours. She was flying the flag of Rear Ad. Perée, who was killed in the action, and had 1,500 soldiers from Toulon for the relief of Malta. Lieut. Andrew THOMPSON of FOUDROYANT took her into Syracuse escorted by ALEXANDER and NORTHUMBERLAND.
  • On 1 March NELSON, supposing that the GUILLAUME TELL would attempt to escape from Malta, stationed his ships at strategic points round the island; ALEXANDER was off St Juliana Bay two miles north of Valetta.
    However the weather became stormy and there were strong gales for the next two weeks. The enemy ship eventually came out at midnight on 30th. and was sighted by by PENELOPE which sent MINORCA to inform Lord KEITH, who sent her on to warn ALEXANDER and FOUDROYANT. The GUILLAUME TELL was captured by FOUDROYANT, LION and PENELOPE the following day. The starving garrison of Malta surrendered to a small force in December 1800. The blockade organised by Capt. BALL had ensured that no ships had entered Valetta for over a year.
  • 1801 Capt. Manley DIXON, 02/1801. Mediterranean. She arrived in Portsmouth on 13 August 1802.
  • 1803 Out of commission, Plymouth.

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