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HYDRA (38) Built in 1797, Gravesend.
Sold in 1820.

  • 1797 Capt. Sir Francis LAFOREY, 05/1797, West Indies.
  • 1801 Hon. Capt. PAGET.
    With TERPSICHORE and SHARK she arrived at Portsmouth on 20 May with a convoy from the Downs.
  • She returned to Portsmouth from the Mediterranean on 4 October 1802 and four days later went into the harbour to be paid off.
  • 1803 Capt. George MUNDY.
    From July 1803 to the summer of 1804 HYDRA was employed on the blockade of the French coast with Sir James SAUMAREZ's squadron. She came into Plymouth on 27 August 1803 to refit in the Sound and sailed again on 1 September.
    Close into Cherbourg at noon on 30 January 1804 Capt. MUNDAY discovered a straggling convoy under the land and succeeded in separating two brigs and a lugger from it.
    One brig was captured by an unknown frigate but the other two vessels were chased as far as the Isle of Wight before being taken.
    (Brig No.
    51 armed with three 24-pounders and lugger No.
    411 with one 18-pounder.
    86 officers and men were taken prisoner)
  • HYDRA then escorted a convoy of merchantmen to Malta before joining Lord NELSON off the Spanish coast.
    In April 1805, while NELSON pursued a French squadron from Toulon, HYDRA remained in the Ligurian Sea under the orders of Capt. CAPEL.
    During the summer she was employed in the blockade of Cadiz and in October was detached to Gibraltar and Tetuan to obtain water and provisions. She returned after the battle of Trafalgar and was directed by Lord COLLINGWOOD to take MOSELLE under her orders and watch four French frigates lying at Cadiz.
  • On the evening of 26 February 1806 Capt. MUNDY discovered that the French squadron had sailed and were already to seaward of him.
    He immediately gave chase and signalled to MOSELLE to steer for Lord COLLINGWOOD's squadron with the intelligence.
    At half past four the following morning he caught up with the French and managed to cut off a straggler. She proved to be the brig-of-war LE FURET commanded by Lieutenant de Vaisseau Demay, mounting 18 long 9-pounders although pierced for 20 guns. She carried a crew of 132 men, was only four years old and was provisioned for five months.
  • On 28 April 1806 HYDRA captured, after a chase of 230 miles, the Spanish schooner ARGONAUTA, pierced for 12 guns but only having 4 mounted, bound for Buenos Aires with despatches. She then escorted a fleet of transports to Sicily and conveyed the British consul to Algiers.
    Later she attacked a division of gunboats on the coast of Grenada taking one and driving another ashore; and captured the privateer schooner TIGRE.
  • On 6 August 1804 MUNDY chased three armed polacres into the harbour of Begu in Catalan were they came under the protection of a battery mounting four 26-pounders on one side of the anchorage and rocks and bushes giving cover for musket fire on the other.
  • At ten minutes to one HYDRA anchored at the entrance to the port and opened fire.
    When the enemy's return fire slackened after an hour Munday ordered 50 seamen and marines, under the command of Lt. Edward O'Brian Drury, to land on the flank and drive the enemy from the guns.
    Under heavy fire they scaled a cliff and entered the battery on one side as the enemy, having spiked the guns, rushed out on the other. Drury advanced on the town, cleared it of the enemy, and then attacked and captured the polacres. The rest of the boats under Lt. James Little then went in to assist in towing them out. The losses were 1 killed and 2 wounded on board and 4 wounded in the landing party. The fore and mizzen top masts and the fore topsail yard were shot through, and there were a few shot in the hull. The captured vessels were: PRINCIPE EUGENIO, 16 twelve pounders and 130 men; DELLA CAROLINA (10) nine pounders, 40 men; and CARMEN DEL ROSARIO,4 six pounders, 20 men.
    The following letter of approbation was received from the Commander-in-Chief:
  • OCEAN, off Sicily, 13 October 1807
  • "Sir.
    I received with infinite satisfaction your letter of the 7th. Aug.
    relating your proceeding on that day, when you attacked and captured three of the enemy's armed ships in the port of Begu, where they were securely moored in a narrow harbour, and defended by a battery of considerable force.
    The gallantry with which this service was achieved in all its parts, both aboard HYDRA, and by the party which landed under Lieutenant Drury's command was worthy of the judicious arrangement which was made at the commencement, and will doubtless be as highly satisfactory to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, as it is gratifying to me, to lay the high merits of the officers and ship's company of the HYDRA before their Lordships.
  • I am Sir, with great esteem.
  • (signed) "Collingwood"

  • At the end of October Their Lordships expressed their satisfaction in a letter from Rear Admiral Purvis on behalf of the Board of Admiralty.
    Drury was promoted to Commander from October 1807 and medals were awarded to survivors of the action in June 1847.
  • On 27 February 1808 Capt. Munday, whilst cruising off Carthagena, observed six ships of the line coming out of the harbour and he shadowed them until they anchored off Palma in Majorca.
    When they showed no sign of moving he continued his journey to Gibraltar for a refit.
  • In the dockyard it was discovered that HYDRA had become scarcely seaworthy so she was ordered home as escort to a convoy of over one hundred merchant vessels.
    The whole arrived safely in England in the middle of July.
  • At the end of November 1808, having undergone a complete repair, HYDRA returned to the Mediterranean as escort to an outbound convoy and throughout the following year Hydra was employed on the coast of Catalonia assisting Spanish guerrillas and attacking the French lines of communication.
  • On 30 December 1808 she attacked a battery being built at Mataro about 25 miles north of Barcelona and drove the French from their work.
    0bserving that he now commanded the main route to the south Munday determined to retain the anchorage.
    The wisdom of his decision was shown two days late when the Governor of Barcelona, General Lecchi, with several hundred infantry and cavalry attempted to pass along the beach.
    HYDRA's fire drove him inland where he met with a warm reception from the Spanish peasantry.
  • The same evening Munday received intelligence that forty wagons loaded with plundered foodstuffs were pass through during the night under heavy escort.
    He therefore sent HYDRA's boats, under the command of the 1st. Lieutenant, Mr Hawkins, to lay on the beach in ambush.
    The boats from LEONIDAS, also under his control, were sent to the westward to prevent French troops from intervening.
    About nine o'clock cavalry and wagons were heard and the boats were able to open fire with carronades at a range of only twenty yards.
    The people then landed, drove away the escort of 200 men and seized some of the wagons laden with flour.
    Two cuirassiers and their horses were killed and forty more wounded with no loss to the HYDRA's people.
  • Every night through January the boats returned to the same station and each night killed some of the patrols.
    In total some 200 were killed, taken prisoner, wounded or deserted.
  • Captain Munday constantly supplied the Spanish irregulars with arms and ammunition but their enthusiasm was thwarted by the treachery, apathy and inactivity of the Spanish leaders.
    General Lecchi was permitted to escape and no attempt was made on Barcelona although the garrison amounted to no more than 2,500 men.
  • On 9 May the commander of the Spanish forces proposed to Captain Munday that a combined attack should be made on Barcelona and a plan was agreed.
    It involved the occupation of the fortress of Montjui by 400 Spaniards (a French officer having been bought), a rising by the inhabitants who were to seize the land-wards gates and let in a strong Spanish force, and an attack by HYDRA, MINSTREL and APOLLO on the Citadel to keep the garrison pinned down.
  • The English ships took up position at the appointed time.
    and awaited the signal to open fire but no attack took place.
    The generals of the Spanish Army of Tarragona had decided that their 10,000 regular troops should rest on their arms and only a handful of armed peasantry should be sent in to attack one of the strongest fortresses in Spain.
    They naturally demurred.
  • On 7 July General Duhesme came out of Barcelona with a force of 2,000 troops supported by artillery.
    His intention was to impress the local inhabitants and force them to repair roads and bridges in order that he might get his artillery down to the coast opposite HYDRA.
    The locals had been warned and fled to the mountains so only small detachments reached the beach where the carronade boats under Lt.
    Hawkins were waiting.
    HYDRA joined in with broadsides forcing the artillery into precipitate retreat back to Barcelona.
    The French infantry then appeared in force and it was the evening of the 9th. before they were finally driven back to the city with the loss of near 300 killed and wounded.
    HYDRA's casualties numbered only three wounded in the boats.
  • HYDRA continued with this service until October when she was ordered to take part in the blockade of Toulon.
    In February 1810 a survey showed numerous defects so she proceeded to Gibraltar to await the formation of a home bound convoy.
    This sailed during August and several of the transports carried 1400 French prisoners, the remnant of the army of 15,000 which General Dupont had led across the Sierra Morena to pillage Cordova in June 1908.
    He surrendered to a superior Spanish army on 20 July and was shot on Napoleon's orders on his return to France.
  • On her arrival HYDRA was found to be totally unfit for service and put out of commission in Portsmouth.
  • In 1813 she was fitted out as a troopship.
  • 1813 Cdr. Joseph DIGBY, 02/1812.
    HYDRA sailed with a convoy to the West Indies on 16 February 1814.
    On 4 April 1815 HYDRA, with THAMES, BELLE POULE and ALCESTE, and with the first division of the army on board, was lying at Havana nearly ready to sail for Bermuda and England.
    Cdr. DIGBY was posted in September 1815.
  • 1816 Capt. Daniel ROBERTS, 09/1815, Portsmouth.
  • 1818 Out of commission at Portsmouth.

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