French frigate Aréthuse (1812)

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For other ships with the same name, see French ship Aréthuse.
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
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 metres (154.0 ft)
Beam: 11.91 metres (39.1 ft)
Draught: 5.9 metres (19 ft)
Propulsion: 1,950 m2 (21,000 sq ft) of sail
Complement: 326
Armour: Timber

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


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


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]

On 27 January 1813, Aréthuse intercepted the brig HMS Daring (Lieutenant Pascoe) off Tamara (one of the Iles de Los off Guinea). Daring was run aground and was burnt to avoid capture, and part of her crew was taken prisoner. Pascoe and his men sailed to the Sierra Leone River, where they arrived the next day and reported the presence of the French frigates to the HMS Amelia (Captain Frederick Paul Irby). The prisoners of Daring were released in a boat on parole.

In the night of 5 February, a storm threw Rubis ashore, where she was wrecked, and 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]

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.


  1. ^ a b c William James , 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), Volume VI, pp183-190, R Bentley, London, 1837.