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AMPHION (32) Built in 1798, Mistlythorn.
Breakwater in 1820.

  • 1798 Capt. R. H. A. BENNETT, 07/1798. Jamaica.
    Following a signal from Sir HYDE PARKER on 25 November 1799, AMPHION gave chase to a Spanish letter of marque which was escorting a convoy of four vessels from Cadiz to Vera Cruz and carrying a valuable cargo herself. She was the ASTURIANA, armed with eighteen 8-pounders, two 12-pounders and four 32-pound howitzers, all brass, and manned with 100 crew. On 23 December ALARM brought the prize into Port Royal harbour.
  • 1802 Capt. Alexander FRASER, 05/1802. Hunting smugglers in British waters. She conveyed the Duke of Cambridge and his suite to Cuxhaven.
  • Capt. Thomas Masterman HARDY.
    On 1 October 1802 AMPHION was appointed to take Lord Fitzgerald as Ambassador to Portugal and she sailed for Lisbon on the 25th. Her passage out took 31 days but she returned on 10 December in only 8 days. She sailed in company with the PRINCE ADOLPHUS packet, Capt. Jones.
  • On 23 January 1803 she was ordered to be paid off and, together with ALCMENE, re-commissioned. She sailed for Cork on 11 March to procure more seamen.
  • On 19 May 1803 Lord NELSON hoisted his flag in VICTORY but he was ordered to leave her so she could reinforce Ad. CORNWALLIS' squadron off Ushant. He transferred his flag to AMPHION on the 23rd. for the passage to the Mediterranean where he had been appointed Commander-in-Chief.
    They arrived at Gibraltar during the night of 3 June bringing the first news of the resumption of hostilities with France. AMPHION reached Malta on the evening of the 15th. and NELSON was confirmed in his opinion that the island was an important outwork to India and of immense value to the navy. (He had changed his mind since April 1799 when he wrote that ". . I attach no value to it for us; but it is a place of consequence to the French. .)
    They left Malta on the 17th. and on the 20th. passed the Faro of Messina.
    AMPHION joined the fleet off Toulon on 7 July to find seven French sail of the line in the roads together with five frigates and six or seven corvettes.
    On Saturday 30 July VICTORY arrived and NELSON moved to her, with Capt. HARDY exchanging commands with Capt. Samuel SUTTON.
  • In September 1804 the government received information that the French had been given permission to march through Spain to man the ships lying at Ferrol. A blockade of Ferrol was instituted and orders given to detain vessels having specie on board.
    On 5 October, INDEFATIGABLE, with AMPHION, MEDUSA and LIVELY, cruising off Cape St. Mary in search of Spanish treasure ships, discovered four ships, in line of battle, steering for Cadiz. MEDUSA took up a position on the weather beam of the leading ship, which carried a broad pendant. INDEFATIGABLE took a similar position alongside the second ship and AMPHION and LIVELY each took an opponent in the same way, as they came up. When the Spanish admiral declined to be detained a close engagement ensued. In less than 10 minutes the MERCEDES, the ship alongside AMPHION, blew up, and all 240 people on board perished except for about 40 who were picked up by AMPHION's boats. Two of the other ships struck after about half an hour and the third, which tried to escape, was taken before sunset. They were carrying an immense treasure in gold and silver bullion and merchandise. (see INDEFATIGABLE.) A woman who, with her eight children, was lost in the MERCEDES was the wife of a man who, with one of his sons, had gone on board another ship before the action and was thus a witness of the catastrophe.
  • On 13 October 1805 AMPHION joined the fleet from Lisbon and, since Capt. SUTTON was in poor health, NELSON gave her command to Capt. William HOSTE of EURYDICE. Two days later Capt. HOSTE sailed to transfer a cargo of bullion from the ROYAL SOVEREIGN to AURORA at Gibraltar, then to undertake a diplomatic mission to the Dey of Algiers.
    Shortly after leaving Gibraltar Robert SMITH, seaman, received 24 lashes for drunkenness.
    AMPHION arrived off Algiers on the 25th. and left three days later after handing over letters from Lord NELSON to the Dey and embarking live bullocks. When the frigate returned to Gibraltar on 9 November they learnt of the victory at Trafalgar and the death of NELSON.
  • In 1806 Capt. HOSTE was commanding the inshore squadron of frigates off Cadiz when he was detached in March to join Sir Sidney SMITH's squadron protecting Sicily from French invasion. AMPHION arrived off Sicily at the end of May and her first action was in June when her boats stormed a castle at Cirello in Calabria.
    On 1 July Major-General Sir John Stuart landed with nearly 5,000 men in St. Euphemia Bay fifty miles north of Messina under cover of AMPHION and other frigates. Three days later the French General Reynier crossed the Amato river and his columns attacked and were broken on the British lines at Maida. The French were slaughtered by the concentrated volleys of musket fire and fled when the British advanced with bayonets leaving about 700 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded and taken prisoner. The British losses were only 45 killed and 282 wounded. The small force was soon outnumbered by the reinforced French army and had to re-embark after having inflicted the first British defeat upon the French in Europe. Maida Vale in London was named in honour of the victory.
  • On 14 July AMPHION and CRAFTY with some Sicilian gunboats and Lieut. Col. Mc Leod's battalion of the 78th. regiment in transports arrived to attack the two French bases of Cantazaro and Crotone (then Cotrone) on either side of Capo Rizzuto on the southern coast of Calabria. A feint attack was made upon Cotrone and on the 26th. AMPHION opened fire on the French reinforcements as they marched along the coast road from Catanzaro forcing them to take refuge in the mountains. Capt. HOSTE's squadron moved to Cotrone where AMPHION's broadside drove the recently arrived French from their positions. The main French force retreated through the mountains burning and looting villages but harried by Italian partisans.
    On the 30th., HOSTE and Macleod called on the remainder of the garrison to surrender and more than 600 French troops were embarked for Sicily while nearly 50 guns were spiked or taken off.
    AMPHION returned to Palermo on 4 August.
  • In May 1808 Capt. HOSTE was ordered by Lord COLLINGWOOD to capture the French frigate BALEINE at Majorca and to take HIND under his orders for the operation. While searching for HIND he discovered on the 12th. that BALEINE had moved to the Bay of Rosas on the Franco Spanish border where she was anchored under the protection of a battery of sixteen long 24-pounders to the left of the town, a fort and another battery of eight heavy guns at the starboard entrance of the bay. Capt. HOSTE attacked and returned the fire of the ship and the guns while tacking back and forth until BALEINE slipped and ran herself on shore. He then moved close in and anchored before continuing the fire at point blank range. AMPHION received some damage and her starboard quarter hammocks were set on fire.
    When BALEINE caught fire and part of her crew abandoned her Capt. HOSTE sent Lieut. William BENNETT in the jolly-boat to strike her colours. When the enemy opened fire on the boat with round, grape and musketry, he was recalled and, about half an hour later when the wind began to die, AMPHION cut her her cable and made sail out to sea. She lost one man killed and several wounded.
    BALEINE had been assumed to be a frigate of the largest class but it turned out that she was intended for the transport of stores and was armed with 26 to 30 guns with a crew of 150 men.
    AMPHION returned to Malta for repairs and, after an unsuccessful attempt to land the Archduke Charles in Spain as a figurehead to rally Spanish resistance, she sailed east to cruise in the Adriatic where 38 merchant vessels were taken.
  • On 7 November she relieved UNITE in the blockade of Trieste and the following day her boat, commanded by Lieut. JONES, rescued two British naval officers who had escaped from imprisonment in France. One, Donat O'BRIEN, master's mate, who had been captured when HUSSAR was lost in 1804, had served in AMPHION in 1802. He returned to her as third lieutenant at the beginning of 1810. While returning to the frigate they encountered two sail inshore off Capo d'Istria which they assumed were enemy merchant vessels. One appeared to be full of men pulling inshore from the larger of the two, evidently abandoning her. They were mistaken.
    The larger vessel, a trabaccolo flying Venetian colours, still had 20 men on board armed with muskets and musketoons and a 4 or 6-pounder. AMPHION's bow man and one other were killed and three other men wounded, one mortally. Lieut JONES and Mr O'BRIEN were wounded and, when the 22 men in the row boat returned to the scene they were forced to make good their escape and seek out the frigate.
  • After a refit at Malta AMPHION returned to the Adriatic and on 8 February 1809 the boats of AMPHION and REDWING, under the command of Lieut. Charles George PHILLOT, landed on the island of Meleda (Molat) and brought off three guns and destroyed two large stores of oil and wine, after first capturing a French brig and a trabaccolo. These had been used to carry troops from Zara to Ancona.
  • Capt. Jahleel BRENTON in SPARTAN now became senior officer in the Adriatic and on 23 April the boats of the squadron, APARTAN, AMPHION and MERCURY, under Lieut. PHILLOTT, attacked the port of Pesaro north of Ancona. They blew up the fort and brought out thirteen valuable merchant vessels. Unfortunately more than half the prizes, and 10,000 in prize money, were lost when the French, following the defeat of the Austrians at Wagram, captured Trieste.
  • On 24 August Capt. HOSTE reconnoitred Cortelazzo between Venice and Trieste and found six gunboats and a convoy of trabaccolos moored under a battery of four 24-pounders at the mouth of the Piave river. Unfortunately the water was too shallow for the ship but he considered that they could be cut out by boats if the battery could be silenced. AMPHION kept out of sight of land until the evening of the 27th. then at one o'clock the following morning, she anchored off the Piave.
    At 3 o'clock Lieuts. PHILLOT and George Matttew JONES landed about a mile south of the battery with 70 seamen and marines and advanced to storm it, leaving Lieut. William SLAUGHTER to push for the river as soon as the fort was carried. The fort was found to be surrounded by a ditch and chevaux de frise and had to be entered with scaling ladders but it was taken within ten minutes. Two men were found dead and fifteen were taken prisoner. The guns were turned on the gunboats and their fire, with that from the muskets of Lieut. Thomas MOORE's marines, compelled their instant surrender. The guns were then spiked and and the battery and barracks destroyed before the whole detachment withdrew.
    The prizes were the Venetian gunboats SURVEILLANTE and VEDETTE each mounting one long 26-pounder in the bow one long 12-pounder in the stern and four swivels on the gunwale; four other gunboats Nos.
    64, 77 and 78, commanded by midshipmen and No. 76 commanded by Commandante Giovanni Villeneuve, all with a single long 12-pounder. Under the Commandante they were stationed at Cortelazzo to protect the trade between Venice and Trieste. Two trabaccolos laden with rice and cheese were brought out and five with wood and charcoal were burnt in the river.
    The petty officers who took part were: John Windham DALLING, master's mate; Thomas BOARDMEN, Joseph GAPE, Charles Henry ROSS, George CASTLE, Charles KEMPTHORN, William Lee REES, Charles BRUCE, Thomas HOSTE, Francis FAREWELL and Robert SPEARMAN, midshipman; Jonathan ANGUS, surgeon's assistant. Lieut. PHILLOTT was promoted commander dated from the day of the action, with Mr JONES becoming first lieutenant.
  • Early in 1810 AMPHION returned to Malta for a much needed refit. When Capt. HOSTE returned to the Adriatic in March he was in command of a squadron of three frigates, AMPHION, ACTIVE and CERBERUS, and a sloop, ACORN. They were based at Lissa (Vis).
    On the morning of 28 June 1810 AMPHION's boats under Lieut. SLAUGHTER chased a small convoy from Trieste into the harbour of Grao (Grado). The enemy vessels were laden with stores for the naval arsenal at Venice so Capt. HOSTE, believing that the garrison at Grao numbered only 25 soldiers, resolved to bring them out. Since the ships were prevented from approaching by the shallow water he telegraphed CERBERUS and ACTIVE that evening to send their boats and marines alongside AMPHION at midnight. When it fell calm in the evening ACTIVE's boats were not able to arrive in time.
    The attack was under the direction of Mr SLAUGHTER, second of AMPHION, and the marines from the two ships under Lieuts. of marines Moore and Brattle, and Lieut. DICKENSON of CERBERUS landed to the right of the town and advanced on the two forts which protected the place supported by launches with carronades under Lieut. O'BRIEN, third of AMPHION. The garrison turned out to be stronger than originally thought and and 38 privates of the 81st. regiment with their lieutenant and sergeant were taken prisoner after a hand to hand fight with bayonets leaving the British in possession of the town and and 25 vessels. Eight of the enemy were killed.
    ACTIVE's boats arrived at this moment and helped with getting the convoy out of the river. Since it was almost low water it was late in the evening before they could be got afloat and cargoes had to be shifted to smaller vessels to get them over the bar.
    In the morning French reinforcements mounted an attack on the town but 22 men and a lieutenant of the 5th. regiment soon threw down their arms after two of their number were killed. About seven in the evening the whole detachment reached the squadron which was was anchored about four miles out. Five large vessels were were sent to Lissa with cargoes, mainly of steel and iron, and eleven were burnt in the river.
    Apart from the officers mentioned above, the others who took part from AMPHION were: Lieut. Thomas MOORE, RM ; Joseph GAPE, Thomas HOSTE, Charles BRUCE and Cornwallis PALEY, midshipmen; Charles H. ROSS, master's mate, James FEW, schoolmaster, and Samuel JEFFERY, volunteer. The losses were David COLES, Thomas KENYON, James M'DONOUGH and Tomaso FELIX, marines killed. James CLARKE, marine, and William JONES and George BROWN, able seamen, were wounded. Jeremiah BRATTLE of CERBERUS was the only officer casualty, he was severely wounded in the thigh.
  • At the end of September a Franco-Venetian squadron under the command of Commodore Dubourdieu sailed from Ancona and they were sighted by AMPHION and ACTIVE on 6 October. Faced by five frigates and two brigs Capt. HOSTE decided tack away from them and stood to the north-east. The enemy pursued them for a while and then, with a gale coming on, returned to Ancona. Meanwhile Capt. HOSTE made for Lissa, collected CERBERUS and ACORN and went back to Ancona. He was delayed for three days by calm weather and found the port empty when he arrived on the 20th. He searched for the enemy to the southward, beating against the wind towards Corfu unaware that Dubourdieu had entered Port St. George on Lissa on the 21st. and burnt five privateers and taken away three prizes.
    The next day the British squadron went after the enemy ships as they fled back to Ancona. Before they could come up with them Dubourdieu was safely behind the mole under the guns of the batteries.
  • Shortly afterwards, while blockading Ancona, VOLAGE was driven into the side of AMPHION by a sudden, violent squall and the damage was so bad that AMPHION, after towing VOLAGE to Malta, was in dockyard hands there for two months before sailing back to the Adriatic at the end of February 1811. She arrived at Lissa on 7 March to come under the orders of Capt. George EYRE in MAGIFICENT.
  • The following week AMPHION, CERBERUS, ACTIVE and VOLAGE sailed across towards Ancona and early in the morning of the 13th. ACTIVE sighted a strange fleet to windward. She fired two guns and showed a blue light to alert AMPHION and at daylight they discovered the enemy squadron lying to off the north point of Lissa.
  • The enemy formed in to two divisions and bore down to attack under all possible sail.
    Starboard or Weather Division: FAVORITE (40) Commodore; FLORE (40); BELLONA (32) Venetian; MERCURE (16)|
    Port or Lee Division: DANAE (40); CORONA (40) Venetian; CAROLINA (32) Venetian; PRINCIPE DE AUGUSTA (16) brig, two schooners, a xebec and a gunboat.
    The Franco-Venetian had 200 guns and 2,500 men. The British frigates had 152 guns and 880 men.
    The British line, led by AMPHION, formed on the starboard tack to receive them and fired on the head-most ships as they came within range. Their weather division bore down on AMPHION and ACTIVE, the other on CERBERUS and VOLAGE in an attempt to break the line but they were frustrated by the concentrated British fire. The discharge of 750 musket balls from a howitzer on AMPHION's quarterdeck caused havoc among the crew of FAVORITE mustered on the forecastle ready to board.
    When the French commodore attempted to round the van ship as the British line wore together he ran his ship ashore on the rocks and lay there bilged. AMPHION found that she had FLORA on her lee quarter and BELLONA on the weather quarter and both opened a concentrated fire on her. One broadside from FLORA raked AMPHION but the balls passed harmlessly along the deck as the crew hid behind their guns. Capt. HOSTE crossed FLORA's bows and hauled up on the other tack and opened up with a broadside on her starboard bow and after ten minutes FLORA struck.
    Meanwhile BELLONA was continuing a destructive fire on AMPHION's stern but after, with difficulty, wearing round on the starboard tack Capt. HOSTE was able to open fire on her weather bow and the second enemy vessel struck just before noon. The enemy to windward now attempted to make off pursued by ACTIVE which, after a spirited action, forced CORONA to surrender.
    CAROLINA, DANAE and the small craft gained the protection of the batteries of Lessina there being no British ship capable of pursuing them.
    Capt. HOSTE had been in no position to take possession of FLORA when she struck but while he was engaged with BELLONA FLORA's captain took advantage of the situation and escaped into Lessina. ACTIVE had been in a position to sink FLORA but seeing that she had struck he went on after CORONA. (Capt. HOSTE was later involved in a correspondence with the French regarding the honour of Capt. Peridier of FLORA, maintaining that by the laws of war FLORA belonged to his Britannic Majesty and the captain's sword to Capt. HOSTE.)
    CORONA caught fire but this was put out after two and a half hours. She and BELLONA were taken into the Royal Navy as DAEDALUS and DOVER. FAVORITE was set on fire by her crew and blew up. The 200 of her crew who managed to scramble ashore surrendered to two of ACTIVE's midshipmen and men from the privateers in Port St. George. About 150 were unaccounted for.
    The British losses were heavy. AMPHION had 15 killed and 47 wounded. The killed included two midshipmen, SPEARMAN and HAYES and the boatswain, Richard UNTHANK; among and the wounded were the captain and Sir David DUNN, his first lieutenant. The captain received a gold medal with Lissa on the ribbon and Lieut. DUNN was promoted, but the crew had to wait until 1849 for their medals.
    It was 25 March before the squadron was in a fit state to sail for Malta with the prizes, leaving MAGNIFICENT to blockade Lessina. They battled through a gale arrive on the 31st. Two days later AMPHION, VOLAGE and the prizes left for England first to the Needles on 11 July then to Greenwich.
  • AMPHION was under repair at Woolwich for a long while before being undocked at the beginning of April 1813 and commissioned by Capt. J. P. STEWART, 05/1813, for the North Sea station and the following autumn she formed part of the inshore squadron off Walcheren.
    On 26 November Capt. STEWART volunteered to command the boats of Ad. YOUNG's fleet in an attempt to capture four French frigates lying at Flushing but the commander-in-chief doubted the practicability of the scheme.
    On 8 December 50 marines and 70 seamen from AMPHION joined the same number from HORATIO and under Lord George STUART, occupied the island of Schowen and the following day boats from the two vessels captured a French battery on Tholen. Lieuts. WHYTE and CHAMPION of HORATIO and AMPHION dismantled battery and spiked the guns.
  • On 6 March 1814 AMPHION's boats made a gallant but unsuccessful attempt on some French vessels in the West Scheldt lying under the protection of Fort Lillo. The British losses were 3 killed and 16 wounded including Lieut. William Brydges CHAMPION, mortally.
    Early in 1815 she, with LEONIDAS, HAVOC, MARTIAL, FERVENT and ARCHER, escorted a convoy from Cork to Bermuda.
  • 1815 Capt. William BOWLES, 10/1815.
  • 1817 Ditto, Portsmouth.
  • 1818 Ditto, Brazils. Capt. William Bateman DASHWOOD was posted out of CREOLE into AMPHION on 21 October 1818 to bring her back to England.
  • AMPHION was sunk as a breakwater at Woolwich in 1820.

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