HMS Arethusa (1781)
Anson (left) and Arethusa (centre) capture Pomona
|Career (Great Britain)|
|Launched:||10 April 1781|
|Commissioned:||1 June 1781|
|Naval General Service Medal with clasp “Curacoa 1 Jany. 1807”|
|Fate:||Broken up, 1815|
|Class & type:||38-gun Minerva-class fifth-rate frigate|
|Tons burthen:||948 bm|
|Length:||141 ft 2 in (43.03 m)|
|Beam:||39 ft 0 in (11.89 m)|
|Depth of hold:||13 ft 9 in (4.19 m)|
|Sail plan:||Full-rigged ship|
|Armament:||UD: 28 x 18-pounder guns
QD: 8 x 9-pounder guns + 6 x 18-pounder carronades
Fc: 2 x 9-pounder guns 4 x 18-pounder carronades
American Revolutionary War 
In February 1782, Arethusa captured the French ship Tartare, of fourteen 6-pounder guns. Tartarte was the former British privateer Tartar, which the French ships Aimable and Diligente had captured in September 1780. The Royal Navy took Tartare into service as True Briton.
On 20 August 1782, Arethusa recaptured the former British warship Thorn. She was armed with 18 guns and carrying a crew of 71 men. She was also carrying a cargo of 10,000 pounds of indigo and eight hogsheads of tobacco.
French Revolutionary Wars 
Arethusa was part of a British squadron under John Borlase Warren that engaged a French squadron off the Île de Batz on 23 April 1794. Melampus and Arethusa captured Babet and brought her into Portsmouth, arriving on 30 April. The action had cost Babet some 30 to 40 of her crew killed and wounded. Arethusa also captured the French frigate Pomone. Arethusa had three men killed and five wounded. The Royal Navy took Babet and Pomone into service under their existing names.
On 21 October, the British frigate Artois captured Révolutionnaire at the Action of 21 October 1794. Artois shared the prize money with the other frigates in her squadron, Arethusa, Diamond, and Galatea.[Note 1]
Arethusa was part of a fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Sir Henry Harvey, commander-in-chief for the Navy in the Leeward Islands, aboard Prince of Wales, that in February 1797 captured the Spanish-held Caribbean island of Trinidad. The flotilla sailed from Carriacou on 15 February and arrived off Port of Spain the next day. At Port of Spain they found a Spanish squadron consisting of four ships of the line and a frigate, all under the command of Rear-Admiral Don Sebastian Ruiz de Apodaca. Harvey sent Favourite and some of the other smaller ships to protect the transports and anchored his own ships of the line opposite the Spanish squadron. At 2am on 17 February the British discovered that four of the five Spanish vessels were on fire; they were able to capture the 74-gun San Domaso but the others were destroyed.[Note 2] Later that morning General Sir Ralph Abercrombie landed the troops. Captain Wolley of Arethusa superintended the landing. The Governor of Trinidad, José Maria Chacón, surrendered the next day. The flotilla shared in the allocation of £40,000 for the proceeds of the ships taken at Trinidad and of the property found on the island.
On 17 April, Arethusa, along with 60 other warships and transports, appeared off the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The fleet landed a 7,000-man invasion force of Royal Marines, German mercenaries and black militia troops from the island of Tobago, commanded by General Sir Ralph Abercromby (also spelled "Abercrombie"). However, the resolute Spanish defense forced the British withdraw after two weeks.
At daybreak on 10 August, Arethusa, commanded by Captain Thomas Wolley, was in the Atlantic Ocean at when she sighted three ships to windward. At 7:30 a.m. one of the ships bore down to within half gun-shot, and opened fire. She proved to be the French 514-ton corvette Gaieté, commanded by Enseigne de vaisseau Jean-François Guignier. Having taken on a ship almost twice her size, mounting forty-four 18-pounder guns, there could only be one outcome, and the French ship was captured within half an hour, having sustained considerable damage to her sails and rigging, and lost two seamen killed and eight wounded. Arethusa lost one seaman killed, and the captain's clerk and two seamen wounded. The Royal Navy took Gaieté into service as Gaiete.
Napoleonic Wars 
On 12 December 1805, Arethusa, Boadicea and Wasp left Cork, escorting a convoy of 23 merchant vessels. Four days later the convoy encountered a French squadron consisting of five ships of the line and four sailing frigates, as well as nine other vessels that were too far away for assessment. A letter writer to the Naval Chronicle, describing the encounter, surmised that the distant vessels were the Africa squadron that had been escorted by Lark and that they had captured. On this occasion, the British warships and six merchant vessels went one way and the rest went another way. The French chased the warships and the six for a day, ignored the 17, and eventually gave up their pursuit. Boadicea then shadowed the French while Wasp went back to French and Spanish coasts to alert the British warships there. Arethusa and her six charges encountered the French squadron again the next day, but after a desultory pursuit the French sailed off.
During the Action of 23 August 1806, Arethusa and Anson captured the Spanish frigate Pomona,[Note 3] as well as destroying a shore battery and defeating a fleet of gunboats. The captured frigate was taken into the Royal Navy as HMS Cuba.
On 1 January 1807 Arethusa, Latona, Anson, Fisgard, and Morne Fortunee captured Curaçao. The Dutch resisted and Arethusa lost two men killed and five wounded; in all, the British lost three killed and 14 wounded. On the ships alone, the Dutch lost six men killed, including Commandant Cornelius J. Evertz, who commanded the Dutch naval force in Curaçao and seven wounded, of whom one died later. With the colony, the British captured the frigate Kenau Hasselar, the sloop Suriname (a former Royal Naval sloop), and two naval schooners. In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issue of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp “Curacoa 1 Jany. 1807” to any surviving claimants from the action; 65 medals were issued.
Niémen was built by Chantier Courau Frères at Bordeaux to a design by Pierre Rolland, carrying 40 guns. She was launched in 1808 but spent only months in French service. She was commissioned at Bordeaux on 22 November 1808, but not completed until January 1809. On 4 April 1809 she sailed under the command of Commandant Jean Dupotet for Fort-de-France with stores and a substantial crew of 319.
On 4 April 1809, HMS Amethyst, HMS Emerald, and Arethusa, Captain Robert Mends, encountered the newly-built French frigate Niémen. Amethyst and Emerald gave chase, with Emerald falling behind. Amethyst caught up the next day and Niémen engaged each other in a bitter battle. Arethusa arrived on the scene that evening, firing a couple of broadsides at the badly damaged French ship. Either at this point, or the next morning, Niémen surrendered. The Royal Navy took the French frigate into service as Niemen.
Arethusa was broken up in 1815.
- The preliminary payment was ₤10,000, yielding each of the captains some ₤312.
- The five Spanish ships were San Vincente (Captain Don Geronimo Mendoza; 84 guns), Gallardo (Captain Don Gabriel Sororido; 74 guns), Arrogante (Captain Don Raphael Benasa; 74 guns), San Damaso (Don Tores Jordan; 74 guns), and Santa Cecilia (Captain Don Manuel Urtesabel; 36 guns).
- Giving her the unusual distinction of capturing both a French and a Spanish frigate named after the Roman goddess of plenty.
- The London Gazette: . 26 January 1849.
- Demerliac (1996), p.90, #601.
- The London Gazette: . 29 October 1782.
- Winfield (2008), p.214.
- The London Gazette: . 28 April 1794.
- The London Gazette: . 25 October 1794.
- The London Gazette: . 20 January 1795.
- The London Gazette: . 27 March 1797.
- Naval Chronicle, Vol. 24, pp.181-2.
- The London Gazette: . 27 November 1798.
- The London Gazette: . 12 September 1797.
- James (1837), Vol. 2, pp.87–88.
- Naval Chronicle, Vol. 15, pp.300-1.
- The London Gazette: . 22 February 1807.
- Roche (2005), p.326.
- Sail and Steam Navy List. p. 48.
- Sir Ralph Abercrombie's Expedition, The Times, 9 June 1797.
- Abercrombie to Dundas, 2 May 1797; C.O. 319/6.
- James, William (1837). Naval History of Great Britain. London: Richard Bentley. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- Rose, Newton ed. The Cambridge History of Foreign Policy, 1783-1919, Vol. II 1783-1870, Cambridge U. Press, 1940.
- M. Alonso; M. Flores. The Caribbean in the XVIII Century and The British Attack to Puerto Rico in 1797. Puerto Rico: Publicaciones Puertorriqueñas, 1998.
- Gardiner, Robert (1994) The Heavy Frigate. (London: Conway Maritime Press).
- Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461.