French frigate Virginie (1794)

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For other ships with the same name, see French ship Virginie.
Fregate Virginie.jpg
Virginie fighting HMS Indefatigable
French Navy Ensign French Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Virginie
Ordered: 17 October 1793
Builder: Brest
Laid down: March 1794
Launched: 26 July 1794
In service: December 1794
Captured: 22 April 1796
Royal Navy EnsignUnited Kingdom
Name: Virginie
Acquired: 22 April 1796
Out of service: 1827
General characteristics
Class and type: Virginie class frigate
Displacement: 720 tonnes
Length: 47.4 m (156 ft)
Beam: 11.9 m (39 ft)
Draught: 5.5 m (18 ft)
  • 44 guns:
  • 28 18-pounders
  • up to 16 8-pounders
Armour: Timber

Virginie was a 40-gun frigate of the French Navy, lead ship of her class.


French service[edit]

She took part in the First Battle of Groix and in the Battle of Groix.

On 22 April 1796, Virginie was cruising off Ireland under captain Jacques Bergeret when she encountered a British squadron under Commodore Edward Pellew, comprising the 44-gun HMS Indefatigable and the frigates Argo, Concord, Révolutionnaire, HMS Amazon and their prize Unité, captured on 13 April.[1]

Virginie retreated and the British squadron gave chase, joining with the French frigate around 23:00. Indefatigable closed in and exchanged broadsides, without succeeding in her attempts at raking Virginie. The gunnery exchange lasted for 4 hours, until the British frigates caught up. Bergeret then struck his colours in the face of an overwhelming opponent.[1][Note 1]

She was subsequently recommissioned in the Royal Navy as HMS Virginie.

British service[edit]

In January 1799, Virginie was with British squadron at the defence of Macau during the Macau Incident.

On 20 May 1808, she captured the Dutch frigate Guelderland.

In Royal Navy service the armament consisted of 46 guns:-

  • 8 Carronades 32 Pounders on the Quarterdeck and Forecastle,
  • 28 Long Ordnances 18 pounders on the Main Deck,
  • 10 Long Ordnances 9 pounders on the Quarterdeck and Forecastle.[3]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]


  1. ^ Britain returned Bergeret in exchange for Sir sidney Smith, whom the French had captured. However, the Convention rejected the exchange, refusing to release Smith. Bergeret honoured his parole and returned to Plymouth on the cartel Displai, which was returning the officers from Arab.[2]


  1. ^ a b Campagnes, thriomphes, revers, désastres et guerres civiles des Français de 1792 à la paix de 1856, F. Ladimir et E. Moreau. Librairie Populaire des Villes et des Campagnes, 1856 Tome 5, pp. 42–43
  2. ^ Grocott (1997), pp. 33–34.
  3. ^ Journal of Robert Knox, Lunarian and Master