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IMPERIEUSE (38) The Spanish MEDEA taken by INDEFATIGABLE, MEDUSA, LIVELY and AMPHION in the Atlantic on 5 October 1804.
Sold in 1838.

  • 1806 Capt. Lord COCHRANE was appointed to her about June 1806. Off Bordeaux.
    One of his officers wrote on 31 December 'There are five sail-of-the-line, three frigates and three brigs ready for sea. Where the ship cannot go our boats do; so that we are sometimes amused by going within half a mile of the French squadron and are chased off by their boats.'
  • 1807 Off Rochefort.
  • On 7 January, as IMPERIEUSE was returning to her station after a chase to the southward, she passed the Bay of Arcasson. Lieut. MAPLETON volunteered to go in with the boats and bring out whatever vessels might be found there. Accompanied by the Hon. Mr Napier and Mr H. STEWART, midshipmen, and Mr GIBBERT, the assistant surgeon, he attacked Fort Roquette which guarded the entrance. The fort was laid in ruins and four 36-pounders, two field pieces and a 13' mortar spiked. Between 15 December 1806 and 7 January 1807 IMPERIEUSE had captured eight vessels variously laden with wine or butter and cheese, and destroyed seven more.
  • On 12 September 1807 IMPERIEUSE sailed from Spithead with the Mediterranean trade under her protection. She engaged a Maltese privateer on 15 November, supposing that she was an enemy, and lost 16 men killed and wounded. About the same time Frederick MARRYAT saved the life of a fellow midshipman, Henry COBBETT, who had accidentally fallen overboard.
  • IMPERIEUSE cut out a Turkish ship from Port Valona on the coast of Dalmatia and, for the first four months of 1808 she cruised from Malta off Catalonia and the Balearic Is. where she captured one national brig, six gun-vessels, one privateer and about 50 merchant vessels. Her first Lieutenant, Mr CAULFIELD, was killed during the capture of the privateer and eleven others of the ship's company were killed or wounded.
  • In July 1808 Gerona was being besieged by the French and the castle of Mongal, occupied by them, completely commanded a pass on the road from Barcelona. While the Spanish militia carried an outpost on a neighbouring hill, Lieut. Hone with IMPERIEUSE's marines took possession of the castle on the 31st. They killed two French gunners and captured 2 officers and 67 men. The fort was levelled with gunpowder and the rocks blown down in the road to make it impassable to artillery. The military stores were handed over to the Spanish.
  • In September 1808 IMPERIEUSE concentrated on destroying the semaphore telegraph which the French had been constructing along the coast in the Gulf of Lyons. Mr MAPLETON, first Lieutenant, commanded all the expeditions; Lieut. JOHNSON had charge of the field pieces and Lieut. Hoare the royal marines. They were joined by Mr GILBERT, Ass. surgeon; Mr BURNEY, gunner, and Messrs. STEWART and STOVIN, midshipmen. The posts at Bourdique, la Pinede, St. Maguire, Frontignan, Canet and Foy were blown up and demolished, together with the telegraph-houses, fourteen barracks, one battery and a strong tower. Rockets were thrown into the towns of Adge and Cette and many trading vessels taken. Their attacks forced the French to withdraw 2,000 troops from Figueras in Spain to protect their own coast.
  • On 13 November a fort near Barcelona was blown up and the city annoyed with rockets.
  • On the 15th. IMPERIEUSE suffered considerable damage and had one of her guns dismounted while attacking a battery.
  • At the end of November Lord COCHRANE hastened to the Bay of Rosas where the fortress of Rosas was being attacked by an Italian army in the service of France. By the 22nd the citadel was already half invested and the defences were in a deplorable state. The south-west bastion had been blown down in a previous war by the explosion of a magazine and the Spaniards were trying to hide it with planks and stones and Trindad Castle, defended by 80 Spaniards and the marines from FAME, had been breached by fire from three (later four) 24-pounders. The marines had already been withdrawn on the 23rd. when Lord COCHRANE went to see for himself. He found the Spaniards on the point of surrender so he brought in 50 seamen and 30 marines from IMPERIEUSE to strengthen them. About 1,000 sandbags, besides barrels and palisades were used to supply the place of walls and ditches, so when 1,000 enemy assaulted the castle on the 30th. they were repulsed with the loss of their commanding officer and all who attempted to mount the breach.
  • The citadel of Rosas surrendered on 8 December so Lord COCHRANE, seeing further resistance against a whole army would be useless, embarked every one in the boats of IMPERIEUSE, MAGNIFICENT and FAME, after firing the trains to the magazines. Marines John Lloyd, John Hitchins and William Fawkes were killed during the siege and four seamen and three marines wounded.
  • When Capt. COCHRANE learnt that two French vessels were at Cadaques, just north of the Bay of Rosas, with a convoy of victuallers for Barcelona he warped into the harbour on 2 January 1809. The French were driven from the town with the loss of nine cannons which they were mounting in batteries, the schooner GAULOISE (7) the lugger JULIE (5) and eleven supply vessels laden with wheat for the garrison at Barcelona.
  • When IMPERIEUSE returned to Plymouth Capt. COCHRANE was appointed to command an expedition to burn the enemy fleet which had been blockaded in the Basque Roads, first by Rear Ad. STOPFORD and then by Ad. Lord GAMBIER, and twelve transports were to be fitted out as fire ships for this purpose. IMPERIEUSE joined the fleet in the Basque Roads on 3 April but, because the arrival of the fire ships was delayed, eight transports already there had to be pressed into use and they were packed with tar and resin taken from three captured chasse-maree.
  • The French fleet lay behind a heavy boom which was covered by batteries and the broadsides of the line-of-battle ships. Every night boats and armed launches gathered to tow away any fire ships.
  • On 11 April IMPERIEUSE anchored near the Boyart shoal with AIGLE, UNICORN and the British PALLAS, a short distance off to pick up the crews of the fire ships on their return.
    At half past eight on the dark and windy night of the 11 April the attack commenced. Three explosion vessels, each laden with 1,500 barrels of powder, 300 shells and thousands of grenades, were to accompany the fireships.
    One was swept away but the other two, one of which was commanded by Capt. COCHRANE with Lieut. William BISSEL and four seamen and the other by Lieut. Urry JOHNSON and midshipman MARRYAT, were ignited within three quarters of a mile of the French line. The MEDIATOR fireship broke through the boom and this allowed through those which had not been abandoned too early.
    Every French ship, except the FOUDROYANT, cut or slipped their cables in terror at the approaching fire ships and by midnight thirteen were aground. IMPERIEUSE had to weigh because of the falling tide and Lord COCHRANE signalled Lord GAMBIER that half the fleet could destroy the enemy. Later he signalled that the enemy were preparing to haul off. As IMPERIEUSE returned to the Boyart shoal on a rising tide Lord GAMBIER anchored his fleet some six miles from the grounded ships and did nothing.
    Lord COCHRANE, unwilling to see the results of the night's work go to waste, dropped down on the tide towards the enemy at half past one in the afternoon with INSOLENT, GROWLER and CONFLICT. To induce the Admiral to take some action he made signals; - No. 405. The enemy's ships are getting under sail. No. 378. The enemy is superior to the chasing ship. No. 364. The ship is in distress and requires immediate assistance. At two o'clock IMPERIEUSE opened fire on CALCUTTA, VARSOVIE and AQUILON. The gun brigs had to be ordered to close the range when their carronades fell short but they still remained outside IMPERIEUSE.
    At half past three INDEFATIGABLE and the other ships at last began to approach. CALCUTTA ceased firing and a midshipman went alongside to take possession. Ten minutes later INDEFATIGABLE opened fire on CALCUTTA until Lord COCHRANE informed her that the ship had already surrendered. VARSOVIE and AQUILON submitted at half past five and and hour later TONNERRE, which had been set on fire by her crew, blew up. CALCUTTA also blew up after a midshipman from IMPERIEUSE set fire to her.
    Unsuccessful attempts were made to attack with fire ships the French ships aground at the entrance to the Charante. The following morning Lord COCHRANE proposed to Capt. RODD of INDEFATIGABLE that they should take position on either quarter of one of the French ships, OCEAN, but Capt. RODD declined to act without orders from a senior officer. So Lord COCHRANE took IMPERIEUSE and PALLAS, with the brigs and bombs BEAGLE, AETNA, CONFLICT, FERVENT, GROWLER, CONTEST and ENCOUNTER and the rocket cutters NIMROD and KING GEORGE, in to the Mamusson passage and sent the smaller vessels to attack the grounded enemy ships, OCEAN, REGULUS and INDIENNE. The wind and tide prevented the two frigates from helping.
  • Between 11 and 14 April IMPERIEUSE lost Henry CROOKMAN, captain of the forecastle, Peter DAROUK, boatswain's mate, and John MARSOVICK, seaman, killed. Mr MARSDEN, purser, Mr GILBERT, surgeon's assistant, seven seamen and two marines were wounded.
  • At 9 AM on the 14th. Lord COCHRANE was superseded by Capt. WOLFE of AIGLE and sent back to England the following day with Lord GAMBIER's dispatches. The affair in the Basque Roads resulted in two court martial. Rear Ad. HARVEY was dismissed the service for calling Lord GAMBIER an old woman who did not know his business, and Lord GAMBIER was honourably acquitted and received the thanks of Parliament after demanding a court martial when Lord COCHRANE opposed the vote. To avoid ministerial disaster witnesses were carefully selected and charts tampered with to provide a result that was a scandal to justice. Lord COCHRANE did receive the order of the Bath but he was professionally ruined.
  • 1809 Capt. Thomas GARTH. He joined her at Portsmouth in June just before the expedition to Walcheren sailed at the end of July. She assisted at the reduction of Flushing and took part in the whole of the operations in the Scheldt. Her seamen, under Lieut. Eaton TRAVERS, served ashore in the brigade attached to Lieut. Gen. Coote's division under the command of Capt. RICHARDSON of CAESAR. The men from IMPERIEUSE were employed in the most advanced battery whose six 24-pounders had been mounted by Lieut. TRAVERS in the absence of artillery men who had gone in search of materials.
  • On one occasion Shrapnel's shells from IMPERIEUSE's carronades were used to blow up the magazine of a land battery.
  • In February 1810 she came under the orders of Capt. George COCKBURN who was in Quiberon Bay attempting to liberate Ferdinand VII of Spain who was held prisoner by Napoleon at Valencay, Indre. (He was restored to his throne in 1813 and reigned until 1833) IMPERIEUSE's boats were employed every night for two months. The French, well aware of what was going on, erected a gallows within their view as an indication of the fate of anyone taken prisoner.
  • Her 6-oared cutter cut out a French merchant vessel lying within 20 yards of a battery and brought her out with the loss of only one man.
  • On 27 June 1810 IMPERIEUSE sailed from Portsmouth for the Mediterranean where she was employed on the coast of Spain. She assisted the Spanish patriots by landing stores at the fort of Morbella, which was nearly surrounded by French troops, and by destroying a martello tower. During a dark wet night Lieut. TRAVERS climbed a ladder to a loophole in the tower and crammed in two bags of gunpowder with a canvas fuse. The explosion nearly blew off the top of the tower and some sparks reaching the magazine completed the destruction with a second explosion.
  • Capt. GARTH removed into COSSACK in September 1810.
  • 1810 Capt, Hon. Henry DUNCAN, Mediterranean. He had followed her as a passenger in the MILFORD (74) and assumed command in Gibraltar on 22 September. In May 1811 IMPERIEUSE and RESISTANCE were detached to Algiers in search of two French frigates. When these were not found Capt. DUNCAN managed to secure the release of a Cephalonian brig which had been taken by Algerine pirates. IMPERIEUSE also undertook two short cruises under Capts. BLACKWOOD and DUNDAS during which ten merchantmen were captured. Apart from these trips IMPERIEUSE spent nine months attached to the inshore squadron blockading Toulon.
  • On the morning of 11 October 1811 he attacked three enemy Gunvessels, each armed with an 18-pounders and carrying 30 men, which were moored under the walls of a strong fort near Positano in the Gulf of Salerno. IMPERIEUSE was anchored within range of grape and within a few minutes the enemy were driven from their guns and one of the gun boats was sunk. The vessel's crews escaped into the fort where they joined the soldiers of the garrison, so Lieut. Eaton TRAVERS and Lieut. Pipon of the royal marines forced their way in under a heavy fire of musketry and forced more than treble their number to flee. The 24-pounders in the fort were thrown over the cliff, the magazine destroyed and the other two gun boats brought off. The ship's fore-top-sail-yard was shot away and one marine was killed and two wounded.
  • On 19 October the boats of IMPERIEUSE and THAMES, commanded by Lieut. TRAVERS, under cover of fire from the two ships, brought of the beach near Palinuro, Calabria, ten armed polacres laden with oil. The vessels had been banked up with sand and defended by a large detachment of Neapolitan troops.
  • Two days later they discovered ten enemy gunboats with a number of merchant vessels in the harbour of Palinuro. They appeared to be so well defended that Capt. DUNCAN considered that he did not have enough force at his command to guarantee success, so he sent THAMES to Sicily for soldiers. She returned on the 25th. with 250 of the 62nd regiment but bad weather prevented any landing until 1 November. In the evening the troops, with the marines of both ships under Lieut. Pipon and seamen under Lieut. TRAVERS, landed from THAMES, the whole under the command of Capt. NAPIER. They ascended and carried the heights while IMPERIEUSE attempted to close and occupy the gunboats and a fort, but baffling winds kept her at long range all evening. The following morning, finding that nothing could be done from the land side, Capt. DUNCAN called Capt. NAPIER back on board THAMES and the two ships ran along the line of gunboats at half musket shot blasting them with broadsides and sinking two. Meanwhile Lieut. TRAVERS had come down from the hills with a party of marines and seamen and was waiting under the walls of the fort. After 15 minutes the fire from the ships had silenced the guns and he was able to take possession. The 24-pounders in the fort were thrown into the sea and the crews of both vessels were sent to bring off six gunboats and 22 feluccas loaded with oil, cotton, figs, raisins and 20 large ship's spars, a task which took until the following day. The British lost 5 killed and 11 wounded.
  • IMPERIEUSE escorted the prizes to Melazzo and disembarked the troops. While on passage to rejoin the fleet at Port Mahon in Minorca she recaptured an English ship from Newfoundland which had been taken by a privateer.
  • In June 1812 IMPERIEUSE and ECLAIR were placed under the orders of Capt. CAMPBELL of LEVIATHAN, and when CURACAO joined them, he decided he had enough force to attack a convoy of 18 sail which had assembled at Languillia and Alassio. The marines were landed before daybreak on the 27th. and, as they assembled on the beach, they were attacked by three times their number, more than 500 of the 52nd line regiment being stationed in each town. The marines were re-embarked after driving them back at bayonet point and destroying a battery. More than 20 Frenchmen were killed and 14 taken prisoner. Although ECLAIR swept in close to the shore and joined her fire to that of the carronades in the boats, the enemy could not be driven out of the houses covering the beach , so the vessels of the convoy were destroyed by gunfire. IMPERIEUSE lost 1 seaman and 3 marines killed, and Lieut. William WALPOLE, 1 seaman and 9 marines wounded.
  • When the American war broke out, fourteen American seamen requested permission to continue serving in IMPERIEUSE to fight against the French. They did not want to fight against their own countrymen but there was little chance of meeting American vessels in the Mediterranean. They continued to serve most faithfully.
  • On 17 August, while IMPERIEUSE and the CEPHALUS brig were reconnoitring Naples, a 74-gun ship, the JOACHIM, a frigate, a corvette and 22 gunboats sailed out to attack them. The frigate and the gunboats opened fire at long range but tacked away when CEPHALUS turned to meet them. The ship too showed no inclination to leave the protection of the shore and she and IMPERIEUSE exchanged fire at long range until the British ships, not wanting to be caught close in during the evening calm, hauled off for the night. The following day the Neapolitan squadron was seen to have returned to its anchorage.
  • About the same time an attempt was made to capture between 50 and 60 boats recently returned from a fishery and then performing quarantine. They managed to enter harbour an hour before Lieut. TRAVERS arrived near the lazaretto so he landed and took dispatches of some importance from an officer in a carriage and four.
  • IMPERIEUSE remained off Naples until it proved necessary for her to go to Port Mahon to be hove down and re-coppered.
  • On her way there she escorted a convoy from Palermo to Alicante. At Port Mahon Capt. DUNCAN shifted the fore mast further aft to improve her sailing qualities. While the captain was searching for sheer-legs Lieut. TRAVERS accomplished the move by making a Spanish windlass of the hand-mast which was placed across the forecastle on the bulwarks. With levers acting on purchases fixed to the deck and the heel of the foremast, the mast was lifted, still fully rigged, to its new position. She left Port Mahon in April 1813 with Capt. DUNCAN commanding a squadron of three frigates and two brigs to blockade Naples and annoy the enemy trade between Naples and Livorno.
  • On one occasion the frigates stood in and fired broadsides at the line-of-battle ships but could not provoke them into leaving the bay.
  • A large signal tower near the mouth of the Tiber was destroyed., Lieut. TRAVERS bringing back on board the abandoned horse of the commander of a troop of dragoons which had attempted to interfere.
  • The French privateer AUDACIEUX was captured on 31 August 1813 off the Straits of Bonifacio by IMPERIEUSE and SWALLOW. She carried 3 guns and 40 men and had sailed two days before from Civita Vecchia.
  • For some days from the end of September 1813 Capt. DUNCAN, with RESISTANCE, SWALLOW, ECLAIR and PYLADES under his command, had been watching a convoy in the port of Anzio and waiting for an opportunity to attack. He was joined on the 5th. by Capt. DUNDAS in EDINBURGH, who, although the senior officer, agreed to add his force to the arrangements already made. A few nights earlier Lieut. TRAVERS, with the small cutter and seven men, had attacked a tower with one gun by sticking a Congreve rocket with the stick cut short through a window. The smoke forced the defenders to let down the drawbridge and they were captured one by one as they came out. The tower was destroyed and he brought off 16 the guard - all he could cram into the small boat - who provided essential information about the defences - two batteries, each mounting three heavy guns, on a mole; a tower to the north with one gun and a battery to the south with two.
  • At half past one in the afternoon of the 5 October IMPERIEUSE, and RESISTANCE took station off the mole, SWALLOW off the tower and ECLAIR and PYLADES to the south battery, with EDINBURGH supporting the last two ships. Shortly after the ships opened fire the storming party under Lieut. TRAVERS and Capt. Mitchell of the marines landed under the southern battery and carried it while Lieut. MAPLETON captured the mole head. The 29 vessels of the convoy, 20 carrying ship timber for Toulon, were brought out without loss.
  • IMPERIEUSE was then senior ship of a squadron off Sardinia and Corsica until 5 December when she and ARMADA rendezvoused at the island of Montecristo with AMERICA, MERMAID and TERMAGANT which, with FURIEUSE who joined them on the 7th., had embarked 1,000 men of the 1st. and 3rd. Italian levy from the Queen's Neapolitan troops, under the command of Lieut. Col. Catanelli, at Milazzo in Sicily. At daylight on the 9th. they were off the mouth of the Arno and in the evening they anchored off Viareggio. IMPERIEUSE's boats drove the enemy from a battery near the beach and brought off two long brass 12-pounders. The following morning a pinnace carrying Lieut. MOLESWORTH and an Italian Capt. Laveroni landed with a flag of truce and the French officer who received them was allowed to retreat towards Florence.
  • Livorno was occupied without much opposition after the marines of the ships landed on 13 December to co-operate with Catanelli's Italians. The marines were charged by enemy cavalry but opened to let them pass killing all but 16, who were later killed or wounded by the Italian levy. They then charged the infantry and forced those who were not killed or wounded to retreat in disorder towards Pisa. The scene was now set for the attack on Genoa but IMPETEUSE was obliged to make for Port Mahon when fever broke out among her crew and she remained there from 10 April to 8 May.1814. Of the 250 men who were sent to hospital not a single one died.
  • IMPERIEUSE returned to England in July 1814 and paid off in September. Capt. DUNCAN was immediately appointed to GLASGOW.
  • 1815 Out of commission at Sheerness. From 1820 she was used as a lazaretto there.
  • 1834 Quarantine Service, Standgate Creek.

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