French frigate Aréthuse (1812)

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Louis-Philippe Crépin, Combat naval en vue des Îles de Loz, 7 février 1813 (19e siècle).jpg
The battle between Aréthuse and Amelia on the shores of Guinea, 7 February 1813, by Louis-Philippe Crepin
History
French Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Aréthuse
Namesake: Arethusa
Builder: Nantes
Laid down: 1807
Launched: 15 May 1812
Out of service: 1861
Fate: Coal Depot in Brest
General characteristics
Class and type: Pallas-class frigate
Displacement: 1080 tonnes
Length: 46.93 m (154.0 ft)
Beam: 11.91 m (39.1 ft)
Draught: 5.9 m (19 ft)
Propulsion: 1,950 m2 (21,000 sq ft) of sail
Complement: 326
Armament:
Armour: Timber

The Aréthuse was a 46-gun 18-pounder frigate of the French Navy. She served during the Napoleonic Wars, taking part in a major single-ship action. Much later she took part in the conquest of Algeria, and ended her days as a coal depot in Brest.

Construction[edit]

Aréthuse was laid down at Nantes in 1807 and launched on 15 May 1812.

Career[edit]

Cruise off West Africa, 1812-1813[edit]

On 25 November 1812 the frigates Aréthuse (Captain Pierre Bouvet) and Rubis sailed from Nantes to intercept British trade off West Africa. In January, having captured a Portuguese ship, La Serra, they reached Cap-Vert.[1] They also captured Little Belt, J. Wilson, master, sailing from Altea to London, Friends, Houston, master, sailing from Teneriffe to Belfast, and a Spanish brig sailing from Majorca to Puerto Rico. The French put the masters and crews on Delphina, a Portuguese they had captured and plundered. Delphina arrived at Pernambuco on 31 January.[2][Note 1]

On 27 January 1813, Aréthuse intercepted the brig HMS Daring (Lieutenant Pascoe) off Tamara (one of the Iles de Los off Guinea). Pascoe ran Daring aground and set fire to her to avoid her capture. The French managed to take part of her crew prisoner but released them against their parole and put them in a boat. Pascoe and those of his men who had escaped capture sailed to the Sierra Leone River, where they arrived the next day. There they reported the presence of the French frigates to HMS Amelia (Captain Frederick Paul Irby).

In the night of 5 February, a storm threw Rubis ashore, wrecking her. The same storm damaged Aréthuse' rudder. Rubis was abandoned and set afire, while Aréthuse effect her repairs.

HMS Amelia in action with the French Frigate Aréthuse, 1813, by John Christian Schetky, 1852

On 6 February, HMS Amelia, guided and reinforced by sailors from Daring, attacked Aréthuse. A furious, 4-hour night battle followed. Aréthuse and Amelia disabled each other by shooting at their sails and rigging. Eventually the ships parted, neither able to gain the upper hand, and both with heavy casualties: Amelia had 46 killed and 51 wounded; Aréthuse suffered over 20 killed and 88 wounded, and 30 round shot had struck her hull on the starboard side below the quarter deck.[1]

Aréthuse returned to the wreck of Rubis to gather her crew, and returned to France. Soon afterwards Aréthuse captured the British privateer Cerberus, and arrived back in St Malo on 19 April having taken 15 prizes.[1][Note 2]

Later life and disposal[edit]

She took part in the Invasion of Algiers in 1830 as a transport. In 1833, she was razeed into a corvette. She was decommissioned in 1861 and used as a coal depot in Brest.

Notes, citations, and references[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Little Belt was a brig of 173 tons (bm) built in Canada in 1811. Her owner was j. Pozin.[3]
  2. ^ Cerberus, a brig of 294 tons (bm), was armed with ten 9 and 4-pounder guns, and six 18-pounder carronades. Her master, John Tregowith, had received a letter of marque on 13 January 1813.[4]
Citations
  1. ^ a b c James (1837), Vol. 6, pp.183-190.
  2. ^ Lloyd's List №4764. Accessed 3 November 2016.
  3. ^ Lloyd's Register (1813) Seq. №L287.
  4. ^ Letter of Marque,"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-09. Retrieved 2015-10-07.  - accessed 14 May 2011.
References
  • James, William (1837) The Naval History of Great Britain from the declaration of war by France in February 1793 to the accession of George IV in January 1820: with an account of the origin and progressive increase of the British Navy (New edition in Six volumes).(London: R Bentley.