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SARACEN (18) Built in 1812, Bridport (Cruizer class).
Sold in 1819.

  • 1812 John HARPER, 08/1812, Dartmouth.
    Initially his crew consisted only of marines and a few ratings retained for harbour-service. With these he was cruising some seven or eight miles off Beachy Head on 23 September 1812 when, at sunset in thick, hazy weather, he saw two French luggers chasing three English merchant ships. He immediately sailed to their protection and ran alongside, boarded and captured, the privateer LE COUREUR with out any loss. LE COUREUR from Calais was commanded by Captain JOREUN and he only surrendered after he and two of his men had been wounded. The privateer mounted 14 guns and was crewed by 50 men. She and her companion HONORIA, (or HONORINE) which escaped whilst LE COUREUR was being secured, had sailed from Dieppe eight hours before and had made no captures although they were notorious for the damage they had caused to our trade on previous cruises.
  • When fully manned SARACEN sailed to the Mediterranean and in February 1813 escorted eastbound trade from Malta and, after a few months on the Smyrna station, spent the rest of the war in the Adriatic under the orders of Rear-Ad. FREEMANTLE.
    His first orders were to blockade Ragusa (Dubrovnik) and on the night of 17 June 1813 SARACEN's people landed on Zupano, one of three small islands which the French had garrisoned for the protection of vessels sailing to the port. It was raining with thunder and lightning when the boats landed a party of 40 seamen and marines under Lieutenants HOLMES and HANCOCK and after a difficult march of 3 miles through the mud they reached the French strong-point drenched in rain and with their ammunition unserviceable. Since the enemy had been alerted there was nothing to do but charge with the bayonet and after 10 minutes struggle the place was taken without loss and a captain, 5 NCO's and 33 privates made prisoners.
  • After the loss of Zupano the French reinforced a second island, Mezzo, and HARPER with Captain BLACK of WEAZLE resolved to besiege it. HARPER landed with the marines of both vessels on 17 July and took possession of the town, the enemy retreating to a fortified castle on a hill which was then bombarded with a 12-pounder carronade.
    While HARPER was absent for two days at the island of Curzola (Korkula) Captain BLACK and his gunner, Mr Brien, hoisted a battery of 3 brass guns to a point overlooking the castle and after a few hours firing on the 22nd the French offered a truce and the castle was surrendered at 3 PM., the officers and men giving their parole not to serve again against Great Britain. Five long 9-pounders, one brass howitzer, 500 shot, 30 shells, 8,000 musket-ball cartridges and 4 barrels of gunpowder were captured. SARACEN lost one marine killed and WEAZLE two wounded.
    The marines from SARACEN and the brig WIZARD were installed on Mezzo as a garrison under Lieut. HOLMES and a telegraph was erected Following the loss of two islands the French general at Ragusa withdrew his troops from the third island of Calamotta and HARPER was ordered to extend his blockade down to Boca di Cattaro (Kotor).
    He reconnoitred the latter harbour on 13 August and three days later, after being joined by WEAZLE and WIZARD, made plans to attack the batteries at the entrance.
    Early on the morning of the 18th. the boats left the brigs under the command of Fairfax Moresby of WIZARD and the men stormed the batteries under a heavy fire of round shot and musketry. Unfortunately the brigs were becalmed off shore and could not cover the landing so the objectives had to be limited to destroying the batteries captured in the first assault by spiking the guns (three 18-pounders in one fort) and throwing them into deep water. Lieut. Hancock was attacked by a party of soldiers while engaged in this activity but drove them off with musket fire. When the boat parties retired at 4 PM the only losses were two seamen from SARACEN who were wounded.
    Part of SARACEN's rudder was also shot away.
    For the next two months SARACEN was left to blockade the enemy ports on her own but he managed to keep the whole coast in a state of alarm by making a series of landings at night. On these occasions he withdrew his marines from Mezzo leaving one man to give the French the impression that they were still present.
  • One evening in September the French, believing SARACEN to be some 12 miles to the westward, sent 50 oxen out of Ragusa to Cattaro under a weak escort. HARPER, who had previous information, sailed during the night and landed to the eastward of the town at daylight with everyone he had on board (the master, boatswain and 20 men) and intercepted the convoy on the road. The guards ran away and the oxen were loaded into fishing boats and taken off to SARACEN. A letter from the French commander was found saying that the blockade had made it impossible to forward supplies by sea and very difficult by land.
  • On 12 October SARACEN and three Sicilian gunboats carrying 50 soldiers joined Captain Hoste in BACCHANTE off Boca di Cattaro.
    The following day they forced the passage between Castel Nuova (near Zelenika) and Fort Rosa and secured an anchorage some 3 miles inside the outer bay.
    On the evening of the 14th. HARPER left with the two gunboats, the launch and barge of BACCHANTE and the boats of SARACEN and entered the inner bay where he was fired on from the island of St George.
    Within 4 miles of Cattaro he found four enemy gunboats in a state of revolt and took possession of them.
    He then landed at various places where the local inhabitants were arming themselves against the French and collected volunteer crews for his new captures. At Persate (Perast) he found that he found that the locals had taken possession of a fort with 3 guns which they placed at his disposal. At 6 AM he used these and those of his gunboats to bombard the island of St. George. In 15 minutes the French had been driven from their guns and offered to capitulate.
    The prize gunboats each had a long 24-pounder in the bow and two of them carried a 12-pounder carronade.
    HARPER left them to blockade Cattaro by sea.
    The local French commander, General Gauthier, had retired to Fort St. John with 600 men and HARPER received orders to blockade him. Finding it impossible to sail SARACEN to Cattaro he called on the local inhabitants to tow her along the rocky shore for 3 miles. He arrived on 20 October and immediately made preparations to hoist a battery to the peak of Mount Theodore which overlooked the fort.
    After 3 weeks of great exertion by SARACEN's seamen in continuous rain an 18-pounder was hoisted to the summit on 23 December. Meanwhile BACCHANTE had returned and her crew mounted further pieces of ordnance. On Christmas Day fire was opened on the castle from four different points and on 3 January 1814, when HARPER was about to lead an assault, Gauthier offered to surrender and, after the capitulation was signed on the 5th., SARACEN's men took possession of the fort.
  • After the fall of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) on 28 January SARACEN came under the orders of Sir John Gore and took part in the blockade of Venice until its surrender.
    On 14 May, with the war in the Adriatic at an end, she sailed up the Grand Canal and anchored near St Mark's.
    Apart from all the shipping, ordnance and stores she had captured, she had deprived the French army of nearly 1,000 regular troops. HARPER was awarded the Order of Leopold by the Austrian Emperor.
  • SARACEN was now ordered to North America. HARPER, who received notice of his promotion to post rank on 7 June when she arrived at Gibraltar, handed her over to Alexander DIXIE on the Halifax station and returned home on 26 October.
  • 1816 John GORE (b), 18/08/1815, Spithead for America.
    In the autumn of 1816 SARACEN and HARRIER were hove down at Halifax after going ashore at Bermuda.
    When FORTH arrived from England on 24 October Ad. GRIFFITH shifted his flag to her and sailed for Bermuda on 10 November for the winter with SARACEN and PACTOLUS in company.
  • 1817 Ditto, Bermuda.

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