French frigate Armide (1804)
The action of September 1805 in which the French captured HMS Calcutta, by Thomas Whitcombe
|Laid down:||November 1802|
|Launched:||24 April 1804|
|Class and type:||Armide-class|
|Tons burthen:||110430/94 (bm)|
|Length:||47 m (154 ft)|
|Beam:||12 m (39 ft)|
|Draught:||5.5 m (18 ft)|
Armide was a 40-gun frigate of the French Navy, lead ship of her class, and launched in 1804 at Rochefort. She served briefly in the French navy before the British captured her in 1806. She went on to serve in the British Navy until 1815 when she was broken up.
She took part in Allemand's expedition of 1805. On 18 July, she captured and burnt a Prussian cutter to maintain the secrecy of the movements of the fleet, in spite of the neutrality of Prussia at the time. The next day, she captured HMS Ranger and burnt her. She then took part in the assault on the Calcutta convoy, helping Magnanime engage and capture HMS Calcutta.
During the Action of 25 September 1806, HMS Centaur, under the command of Commodore Sir Samuel Hood, captured Armide, which was under the command of Captain Jean-Jacques-Jude Langlois, and assisted in the capture of Infatigable, Gloire and Minerve. Centaur lost three men killed and three wounded. In addition, a musket ball shattered Hood's arm, which had to be amputated. The wound forced Hood to quit the deck and leave the ship in the charge of Lieutenant William Case. Centaur also lost most of her lower rigging. In all, the British lost nine men killed and 32 wounded. Hood estimated that the French had 650 men aboard each vessel, inclusive of soldiers, but put off till later any estimate of their losses.
In January 1810 Armide, under Captain Hardyman, and the 80-gun second rate, HMS Christian VII, Captain Sir Joseph Sydney Yorke, were stationed off the Basque Roads. On 10 January, they sighted a small convoy sailing from the Île d'Aix to La Rochelle. The boats of the two ships went in under small arms and grapeshot fire from a shore battery and captured a chasse-maree of about 30 tons. The tide was ebbing too fast to bring off the other vessels so the British burnt a brig, a schooner and a chasse-maree. This was regrettable as the all were fully laden with cargoes consisting of best quality wines and brandies, soap, rosin, candles, pitch, oil, pine varnish, and the like. The cutting out expedition suffered no casualties. The captured chasse maree was probably the Felicite.
On 19 January Armide recaptured the brig Hope. The next evening, boats from Armide and Christian VII pursued about 30 vessels that were coming out from the Maumusson Pass, between the Île d'Oléron and the mainland, making for La Rochelle. The French convoy then ran aground close under shore batteries. Still, the British were able to take one chasse-maree and burn four, despite heavy fire from the shore batteries. The rest escaped and headed back from where they had come. Two French sailors died in the affair and Armide had one man wounded. The captured chasse maree was probably Glorieuse.
On the night of 12 February, another convoy of ten vessels sailed from the Charente River and three chasse-marées went aground on the reef off the Point de Chatelaillon between La Rochelle and Île d'Aix. Yorke then sent in three boats each from Armide and Christian VII, plus two from HMS Seine, to attack them. Nine French gunboats, each carrying a 12-pounder carronade and six swivel guns, and manned with suffient men for 20 to 30 oars, fled from the British boats. The British, led by Lt. Gardiner Henry Guion, captured one gunboat, killing two of her crew and wounding three, including her commander; two gunboats grounded and could not be retrieved. The British then burnt the three chasse-marees that they captured.
On 4 May, boats from Armide, with the assistance of boats from the 8-gun Cherokee-class brig-sloop HMS Cadmus, and the gun-brigs Monkey and Daring, attacked a French convoy of armed and coasting vessels off the Île de Ré. Despite strong fire from shore batteries and the convoy's escorts, the British accounted for 17 ships, burning 13 of them and forcing four ashore. Armide lost three men killed and three wounded.
In August Captain Richard Dalling Dun assumed command. On 27 September, the boats of the 120-gun first rate HMS Caledonia, Captain Sir Harry Neale, the 74-gun Repulse-class third rate HMS Valiant, Captain Robert Dudley Oliver, and Armide, captured two laden brigs and burned a third that had taken shelter under the guns of a battery on the Point du Ché, near Angoulins. A force of 130 Royal Marines from the two ships of the line also took and destroyed the battery after engaging reinforcements on the way. The British suffered two men wounded, but killed at least 14 French soldiers in the battery alone. The next day Armide, Caledonia, Valiant, Snapper, Arrow and the hired armed cutter Nimrod captured the San Nicolas and Aventura.
Captain Francis Temple assumed command in September 1812. On 10 December, Armide was in company with Piercer and so shared in the prize money from the capture of the chasse maree Civilité. Armide was in sight on 23 December when the hired armed cutter Nimrod recaptured Sparkler, and so shared in the salvage money.
On 16 January 1813, Armide grounded near two batteries on Point St. Jaques, Quiberon Bay. When the French hailed them, the pilot on Armide replied that she was the frigate USS President and that they required no assistance. Her crew managed to re-float Armide before the French discovered they had been tricked. Still, a court-martial reprimanded Temple, "dis-rated the master from his ship", and fined the pilot of all his pay, while also sentencing him to imprisonment in the Marshalsea for two months. (This setback did not destroy Temple's naval career. He went on to rise to the rank of Vice Admiral of the White.)
War of 1812
From 5 February 1813 to May 1815 Armide was under the command of Captain Edward Thomas Troubridge. On 14 May, he brought her into Nova Scotia, together with a convoy of three store ships from Cork.
On 7 August 1813 Armide captured an American schooner laden with munitions of war on the Rappahannock River at Windmill Point and with two ladies as passengers. Armide forwarded the ladies to their place of destination but kept their two male escorts and three sailors as British prisoners.
On 15 August, Armide was in company with Endymion and Pique when she captured the American privateer Herald of 230 tons burthen (bm), 17 guns and 100 men. She had thrown two guns overboard while pursued. The next day Armide captured the French letter of marque Invincible, formerly Invincible Napoleon. She was armed with 16 guns but had thrown ten overboard. She was of 331 tons burthen (bm) and had a crew of 60 men.
To prepare for the attack on New Orleans, in early December 1814 Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane hoisted his flag in Armide and took her together with the 38-gun frigate HMS Seahorse and the 18-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop HMS Sophie off Pensacola to an anchorage at the Isle of Vaisseau at the beginning of December 1814. On her way down two American gunboats fired on Armide, which led to the Battle of Lake Borgne. Boats from the British fleet, under Captain Nicholas Lockyer of Sophie, and including Armide, captured the American flotilla. In the action the British lost 17 men killed, including one from Armide, and 77 wounded.
After the British had succeeded in silencing American naval opposition, the British transported their troops 60 miles to Bayou Catalan (or des Pecheurs) at the head of Lake Borgne. The troops landed on 23 December and took up a position across the main road to New Orleans. While Captain Troubridge took command of the naval brigade ashore, Armide remained at anchor off the Île au Chat.
After their defeat in the Battle of New Orleans in January 1815 the British withdrew. Cochrane left the British headquarters on 14 January, returning to Armide on the 16th.
In February Armide was at Bermuda ready for passage home. She was broken up in November 1815.
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