HMS Brilliant (1779)
His Majesty's Ship Brilliant, of 28 guns: Engaging and Beating off Two Republican Frigates
|Ordered:||9 October 1776|
|Builder:||Henry Adams, Bucklers Hard|
|Laid down:||February 1777|
|Launched:||15 July 1779|
|Completed:||4 September 1779 (at Portsmouth Dockyard)|
|Fate:||Broken up November 1811|
|Class and type:||28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate|
|Tons burthen:||59982⁄94 (bm)|
|Beam:||33 ft 8 in (10.3 m)|
|Depth of hold:||11 ft 0 in (3.35 m)|
|Sail plan:||Full-rigged ship|
|Complement:||200 officers and men|
Brilliant was stationed at Gibraltar during the Great Siege. In June 1782 the garrison there launched 12 gunboats. Each was armed with an 18-pounder gun, and received a crew of 21 men drawn from Royal Navy vessels stationed at Gibraltar. Brilliant provided crews for six: Defiance, Dreadnought, Resolution, Revenge, Spitfire, and Thunder.
On 13 and 14 September and 11 October, the garrison destroyed a number of floating batteries. In December 1784 there was a distribution of £30,000 in bounty money for the batteries and the proceeds of the sale of ships stores, including those of San Miguel. A second payment of £16,000 followed in November 1785. A third payment, this of £8,000 pounds, followed in August 1786. June 1788 saw the payment of a fourth tranche, this of £4,000. Brilliant's officers and crew shared in all four.
French Revolutionary Wars
Between July 1796 and October 1798 Brilliant's captain was Henry Blackwood. On 27 July, at Tenerife, Brilliant observed the frigates Vertu and Régénérée preparing to sail for Rochefort. At 6, the French frigates sailed and started firing on Brilliant; Régénérée was closing in on her opponent when Vertu, which had sailed large, touched the wind; Régénérée imitated her manoeuver, but lost her mizzen and bowsprit, allowing Brilliant to flee. Vertu gave chase, but could not overhaul her opponent and returned to Tenerife. There, Régénérée replaced her rigging, and both frigates eventually arrived in Rochefort on 5 September.
On 8 September 1800 Brilliant sent the prize Dragon into Plymouth. She was a packet of 14 guns, bound for L'Orient from Guadeloupe and carrying a cargo of cocoa, coffee, indigo and cotton.
On 20 October 1808 Brilliant was in company with Pheasant and the hired armed lugger Sandwich, when they discovered the Revenue cutter Active chasing a French privateer. The British were able to capture their quarry, which turned out to be the lugger Pointe du Jour, of Roscow. She was armed with three guns and carried a crew of 30 men. Captain Thomas Smyth reported that she "has cruized successfully against our Trade."
Brilliant was broken up at Portsmouth in November 1811.
- Drinkwater (1905), p.246.
- The London Gazette: . 16 November 1784.
- The London Gazette: . 12 November 1785.
- The London Gazette: . 1 August 1786.
- The London Gazette: . 7 June 1788.
- Troude, vol.3, p.130
- "HMS Brilliant at Ships of the Old Navy website". Retrieved 15 October 2011.
- The London Gazette: . 26 August 1809.
- The London Gazette: . 2 September 1809.
- The London Gazette: . 5 November 1808.
- Winfield (2007)
- Drinkwater, John (1905) A History of the Siege of Gibraltar, 1779-1783: With a Description and Account of that Garrison from the Earliest Times. (J. Murray).
- Robert Gardiner, The First Frigates, Conway Maritime Press, London 1992. ISBN 0-85177-601-9.
- David Lyon, The Sailing Navy List, Conway Maritime Press, London 1993. ISBN 0-85177-617-5.
- Troude, Onésime-Joachim (1867). Batailles navales de la France (in French) 3. Challamel ainé.
- Rif Winfield, British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1714 to 1792, Seaforth Publishing, London 2007. ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6.
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