French frigate Piémontaise

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La Pie'montaise (French Frigate) on the 21,st June 1806 1806 or later RCIN 735129 680309-1492681654 (cropped).jpg
La Pie'montaise in 1806
French Navy EnsignFrance
BuilderSaint Malo
Laid down22 March 1803
Launched15 December 1804
Commissioned23 September 1805 at Saint Servan
Captured8 March 1808
United Kingdom
Acquired8 March 1808
FateBroken up in 1813
General characteristics [3][4]
Class and typeConsolante-class frigate
Displacement1400 tons (French)
Tons burthen10918394 (bm)
Length157 ft 5 in (47.98 m) (overall); 128 ft 10 in (39.27 m) (keel)
Beam39 ft 11 in (12.17 m)
Draught6.17 m (20.2 ft) [2]
Depth of hold12 ft 8 in (3.86 m)

Piémontaise was a 40-gun Consolante-class frigate of the French Navy. She served as a commerce raider in the Indian Ocean until her capture in March 1808. She then served with the British Royal Navy in the East Indies until she was broken up in Britain in 1813.

French service[edit]

Piémontaise was built by Enterprise Étheart at Saint Malo to a design by François Pastel.

View of the Hon,,ble Company's Ship Warren Hastings, a few minutes before her action with La Pie'montaise, by Robert Dodd

On 18 December 1805 she sailed from Brest for Île de France. There she served as a commerce raider under captain Jacques Epron. On 21 June 1806, she captured the East Indiaman Warren Hastings. On 6 September, she captured the 14-gun East India Company brig HCS  Grappler , the three-masted country ship Atomany, and the East Indiaman Fame.

Between September and October 1807, Piémontaise captured Caroline, Eggleton or Eggleson, master, Sarah, Henderson, master, Maria, James, master, Udny, Walteas or Wallis, master, Danneberg or Danesburgh or Castel Dansborg, Winter, master, Highland Chief, Mahapice or Makepiece, master, Eliza, Sparkes, master, and Calcutta.[5][6] Calcutta was a "native ship". Captain James, of Maria, died aboard Piémontaise on 29 September.[6]

Piémontaise captured Resource on 9 October 1807. She was carrying toile and 7,500 sacks of rice. The value of the prize was 215,930.24 francs.[7]

In early March 1808, Piémontaise captured three more merchantmen off Southern India.


HMS St Fiorenzo taking the Piémontaise

On 6 March 1808, Piémontaise encountered St Fiorenzo.[8] The two ships battled for three days until Piémontaise, out of ammunition and having suffered heavy casualties, had to strike her colours on 8 March. The evening before she struck, Lieutenant de vaisseau Charles Moreau, who had been severely wounded, threw himself into the sea. Captain Hardinge, of St Fiorenzo, was killed in the fighting on the last day. Over the three days the British suffered 13 dead and 25 wounded. The French suffered some 48 dead and 112 wounded.[9][10]

Lieutenant William Dawson took command and brought both vessels back to Colombo, even though Piémontaise's three masts fell over her side early in the morning of 9 March. Piémontaise had on board British Army officers and captains and officers from prizes that she had taken. These men helped organize the lascars to jury-rig masts and bring Piémontaise into port. St Fiorenzo had too few men, too many casualties, and too many prisoners to guard to provide much assistance. In 1847 the Admiralty awarded the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "San Fiorenzo 8 March 1808" to any surviving claimants from the action.

British service[edit]

View of Banda Neira, depicting three of the four ships used to capture the island from the Dutch in 1810, from a sketch by Capt. Cole of HMS Caroline

The British brought Piémontaise into service as HMS Piedmontaise, commissioning her under Captain Charles Foote. From May to August 1810, she took part in the successful expedition to the Banda Islands, along with Caroline and Barracouta.[11] The expedition also included Mandarin.

Foote died in September and Commander Henry D. Dawson replaced him, only to die shortly thereafter. Piedmontaise's next captain was T. Epworth, who was replaced in turn by Captain Henry Edgell.[4]


Piémontaise was taken out of commission at Woolwich on 12 August 1812. She was broken up in January 1813.[4]

Citations and references[edit]


  1. ^ Naval Database
  2. ^ Frégate La Piémontaise
  3. ^ Winfield & Roberts (2015), p. 145.
  4. ^ a b c Winfield (2008), p. 179.
  5. ^ Lloyd's List №4243.
  6. ^ a b Asiatic Annual Register, Vol. 10, p.123.
  7. ^ Roman (2007), p. 223.
  9. ^ "No. 16171". The London Gazette. 13 August 1808. p. 1108.
  10. ^ "No. 16210". The London Gazette. 17 December 1808. p. 1711.
  11. ^ "No. 16905". The London Gazette. 4 June 1814. p. 1159.


  • Roche, Jean-Michel (2005). Dictionnaire des bâtiments de la flotte de guerre française de Colbert à nos jours. 1. Group Retozel-Maury Millau. pp. 352–353. ISBN 978-2-9525917-0-6. OCLC 165892922.
  • Roman, Alain (2007). Robert Surcouf et ses frères [Robert Surcouf and his brothers] (in French). Preface by Olivier Roellinger. Editions Cristel. ISBN 978-2-84421-050-0. OCLC 159954380.
  • Winfield, Rif (2008), British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates, Seaforth, ISBN 978-1-86176-246-7
  • Winfield, Rif; Roberts, Stephen S. (2015). French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786–1861: Design Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84832-204-2.