HMS Cruizer (1797)
|Career (United Kingdom)|
|Ordered:||19 December 1796|
|Builder:||Stephen Teague of Ipswich|
|Laid down:||February 1797|
|Launched:||20 December 1797|
|Fate:||Sold for breaking 3 February 1819|
|General characteristics |
|Class & type:||Cruizer-class brig-sloop|
|Type:||Rated for 18 guns|
|Tonnage:||382 41⁄94 (bm)|
|Length:||100 ft 0 in (30.5 m) (gundeck)
77 ft 3 1⁄2 in (23.6 m) (keel)
|Beam:||30 ft 6 in (9.3 m)|
|Depth of hold:||12 ft 9 in (3.9 m)|
|Sail plan:||Brig rigged|
Later: 16 x 32-pounder carronades + 2 x 6-pounder chase guns
HMS Cruizer (often Cruiser) was a Royal Navy Cruizer-class brig-sloop built by Stephen Teague of Ipswich and launched in 1797. She was the first ship of the class, but there was a gap of 5 years between her launch and the ordering of the next batch in October 1803; by 1815 a total of 105 other vessels had been ordered to her design. She had an eventful wartime career, mostly in the North Sea, English Channel and the Baltic, and was sold for breaking in 1819.
Cruizer was a prototype brig-rigged sloop-of-war designed in 1796 by Sir William Rule, the Surveyor of the Navy. Her hull was identical to the Snake-class ship-sloop, but she carried a pair of square-rigged masts instead of the three masts fitted in the Snake class. The original design had an armament of eighteen 6-pounder long guns but it was soon decided to replace the broadside weapons with sixteen 32-pounder carronades, leaving two 6-pounders as bow chasers. The net effect was to increase the broadside weight of shot massively, at the cost of reducing her broadside's effective range.[Note 1] This mix became the pattern for all the other, later members of her class.
Cruizer was ordered by the Admiralty on 19 December 1796 to be built in the commercial yard of Stephen Teague at Ipswich.[Note 2] She was laid down in February 1797 and launched on 20 December the same year.
North Sea (1799 - 1800)
Cruizer operated in the North Sea during 1799, capturing the French privateers Jupiter, Chasseur, Deux Frères and Courageux between April and July. On 23 March 1800 under Captain Wollaston she captured the 14-gun French privateer Perseverant after a chase of 5 hours. The prize was sent into Yarmouth, and 2 days she repeated the feat by capturing the 14-gun Filibustier.
In March 1801 Cruizer (under the command of Commander James Brisbane) sailed with Admiral Sir Hyde Parker's fleet from Yarmouth roads for Copenhagen. On 30 March Cruiser's boat was used to buoy the narrow channel between Saltholm and Middelgrund ("the Middle Ground" shoal), part of the waterway of Øresund between Copenhagen and Malmö. Brisbane impressed his immediate superior, Vice Admiral Nelson, with this work, and was promoted to post captain after the subsequent battle of Copenhagen.
Blockade of the Netherlands (1803 - 1806)
Together with Jalouse and Immortalité she captured the French schooner Inabordable, the brig Commode and 2 gun vessels on 14 June 1803 after they had run aground under the guns of a shore battery for protection. Boats from Cruizer and Rattler cut out the cutter Colombe from Sluis on the night of 8 March 1804, but she ran aground on the bar and was burnt to prevent her recapture. Cruizer and Rattler were soon again in action together off Blankenberge; 13 armed vessels carried troops from the shore with the intention of boarding, but they were beaten back until the shallow water and the guns of the Ostend batteries prevented further chase.
Later in 1804 Cruizer was used as the inshore vessel in the blockade of Flushing, and as part of her duties she was required to report the movements of vessels in and around the harbour to the officer in command of the operation, Captain Sir Sidney Smith of Antelope. On 15 May 1804 Cruizer reported 22 vessels sailing from Ostend. By morning it was apparent that a flotilla of 59 vessels, comprising prams, schooners and schuyts, had sailed from Flushing was making its way along the shallow coastal waters to Ostend. Cruizer and Rattler attacked that afternoon, just as the wind changed and forced the Dutch vessels to turn back for Flushing. The frigates Penelope and Antelope attacked the leading vessels, and Aimable was sent to assist Cruizer and Rattler in dealing with the rearmost vessels. Surrounded by a host of small vessels, and operating in shallow water, the engagement lasted six hours, and Cruizer lost one man killed and three wounded. Much damage was done to the Flushing flotilla, although more sailors were killed in trying to destroyed the grounded vessels over the next few days than were lost in the engagement.
Cruizer captured the French privateer Contre Amiral Magon on 16 October 1804 after a chase of 100 miles. The gun-brig Bold, the hired armed brig Ann and cutter Florence were also in company but fell behind in the chase. The French brig, under the command of Captain Blauckman, surrendered without a fight after Cruizer sent three warning shots from her 32-pounder carronades.[Note 3] She was quite new and on her first cruise. She was pierced for 18 guns but mounted 17: fourteen 6-pounder guns, two 18-pounder carronades, and one 9-pounder gun. Her crew of 84 men consisted of Frenchmen, Danes, Swedes, and Americans. (Of the 67 men aboard, 19 being away in prizes, seven of the Americans promptly joined the crew of the Cruizer.
Contre-Amiral Magnon had been out from Dunkirk 18 days and had captured the ship Belisarius, of Newcastle, the brig Scipio and Content's Increase. The last two had cargoes of coal and the privateer had sent them straight into Dunkirk. A British naval brig had recaptured Belisarius within two hours of her capture. The masters of all three British vessels, together with their crews, some 20 men in all, were on Contre Amiral Magon at the time of her capture and Cruizer took them on board. The Contre-Amiral Magon was sent into Yarmouth where she soon afterwards was wrecked by being driven on shore. Her crew were sent to prison, but Captain Blauckman remained aboard Monmouth. He managed to escape and shortly thereafter returned to Dunkirk.
On 23 October 1804 Cruizer and her accompanying gun-brigs were in again action off Ostend with two small praams and eighteen schuyts. Shallow water allowed the French to retreat as the tide fell and the gun-brig Conflict grounded due to the fault of her pilot. Her crew abandoned her but later returned together with men from Cruizer, the hired armed cutters Admiral Mitchell and Griffin, and some of the other ships in the squadron to try to recapture or destroy her. The cutting-out expedition was unsuccessful, with Cruizer suffering four officers and men wounded, Conflict losing one man killed and five wounded, and Griffin having two men wounded in the attempt.
The next year continued to be a busy time on blockade for Cruizer as she was in action 104 times with various enemy ships, coastal batteries and privateers. Cruizer was in company with the hired armed brig Ann on 2 August 1805 when they captured the Frederick. Then on 22 August they captured the Susannah Margaretha.
On 13 November Cruizer intercepted two French pirate luggers attempting to take a brig. Hancock chased and after two hours captured the Vengeur after his bow guns brought down the lugger's main topsail and main-lugsail. She was under the command of Jean Augustim Hirrel, carried a crew of 56 men and was armed with 14 guns. She was two days out of Boulogne and had that day taken two Swedish brigs, one laden with salt, from Liverpool, the other from Boston, in Lincolnshire, in ballast.
In January 1806 Captain Hancock decoyed a number of blockade breakers off shore by disguising his ship as an American. Capturing one cutter, he used her to take a further six luggers and a schooner. After 5 successful years in Cruizer, Hancock was relived by Commander Stoddart.
On her way from Walcheren towards the Galloper Shoal in the North Sea, Cruizer spotted the 16-gun privateer lugger Brave and, after a long chase, drove her onto the beach three miles west of Blankenberge. Cruizer's boats captured the privateer under musket fire and brought her off. One of the prisoners released from Brave was the master of the Tyne collier brig Leander, which Cruizer recaptured the same afternoon.
Baltic (1807 - 1810)
From August 1807 Cruizer formed part of Admiral Gambier's inshore squadron for the siege of Copenhagen, and during the battle one of her lieutenants was killed. Commander George M'Kenzie took command later in the same year, and it was under his command that Cruizer, in company with Euryalus, was convoying ships through the Great Belt on 11 June 1808 when they sighted a number of Danish vessels at anchor near Korsør. Boats from both ships attacked the Danes, despite the covering fire of a battery of three 18-pounder guns, and the presence of large numbers of Danish troops on shore. Two large transports were burnt and a gun-vessel captured, for the loss of one man slightly wounded.
From mid-1808 there is less information about her; that autumn, on 1 October 1808, Cruizer was off Gothenburg when she was attacked by 20 gunboats. She captured one and drove off the others.
From November 1808 she was commanded by Commander Richard Toker. On 25 November she captured the Danish vessels Erndre, Prince Charles, Aurora, Lawrence Caroline, and Two Brothers.
In March and April 1809 she captured five prizes. On 13 March she captured the Albion. The next day she captured the Printz Frederick and the Erstotning. On 21 March it was the Unge Maria's turn to fall prey. Lastly, on 9 April Cruizer captured the St. Johannes.
On 7 May 1809 she was off Baltiysk (then called Pillau), with a letter for Louis Drusina (also known as Heinrich Hahn), a secret agent who had previously been British Consul. Cruizer captured the 6-gun Danish Christianborg on 31 May 1809. In September and October 1810 she brought four prizes (Schwan, Blanch, and Albertina and Byie) into Hull. She was in Yarmouth and the Nore in January 1811, refitted in Chatham in November 1811, was in Portsmouth in February 1812 and is recorded at Sheerness in 1814.
Cruizer was sold for breaking to Mr Cockshot on 3 February 1819.
- This was an innovation that the Royal Navy favoured at the turn of the 19th century for many small vessels.
- The use of commercial ship yards for building the smaller vessels of the Royal Navy was normal practice of the time.
- Blauckman was a highly successful privateer captain, also known as Blankman and Blakeman, among other variants. During the French Revolutionary Wars he had been captain of the privateers Anacreon, Bellone and Chasseur. This was the fourth time the British had captured him.
- Winfield (2008), p.70.
- Naval Database
- Age of Nelson
- The London Gazette: . 17 November 1804.
- Naval Chronicle, Vol. 12, pp.457-458.
- Marcus (1971), pp.107-8.
- United service magazine, July 1845, pp.404-8.
- The London Gazette: . 23 October 1804.
- The London Gazette: . 4 September 1810.
- The London Gazette: . 21 March 1807.
- The London Gazette: . 12 November 1805.
- The London Gazette: . 29 January 1811.
- The London Gazette: . 20 February 1810.
- Marcus, C.J. (1971) The Age of Nelson: The Royal Navy 1793-1815. (New York:Viking Press).
- Winfield, Rif; Lyon, David (2004). The Sail and Steam Navy List: All the Ships of the Royal Navy 1815–1889. London: Chatham Publishing. ISBN 978-1-86176-032-6. OCLC 52620555.
- "HMS Cruizer at the Age of Nelson website". Retrieved 2010-09-26.
- "HMS Cruizer at the Naval Database website". Retrieved 2010-09-26. NB. Benyon uncharacteristically confuses Cruizer with her predecessor, the cutter of 1781, although she sank in 1792. All the entries here are for the Cruizer-class brig-sloop of 1797.