HMS Galgo (1799)

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Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svgSpain
Name: Galgo
Namesake: Galgo Español
Builder: Royal Dockyard, Ferrol
Launched: 1795
Captured: 15 November 1799
Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Galgo
Acquired: 15 November 1799 by capture
Fate: Foundered 9 October 1800
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Corvette or brig-sloop
Tons burthen: 395 bm (398 by calc.)[1]
  • 99 ft (30 m) (overall)
  • 89 ft 3 in (27.20 m) (keel)
Beam: 29 ft (8.8 m)
Depth of hold: 13 ft 0 in (3.96 m)
Sail plan: Brig
  • Spanish service: 110 men
  • British service:121 men
Armament: 16 guns

HMS Galgo was a Spanish corvette, launched in 1795, that the British captured in November 1799. In her brief career she detained, took or destroyed a number of small prizes before she foundered, with the loss of most of her crew, in October 1800.


In autumn 1799, a convoy that consisted of vessels from England and Cork, sailed to Jamaica under escort by the frigate Crescent and the sloop Calypso. The convoy was negotiating the Mona Passage and was 10 or 12 leagues south-west of Puerto Rico on the morning of 15 November when it encountered a small Spanish squadron that was sailing from Santo Domingo to Havana.[2] (The squadron had been escorting a Spanish convoy out past the Bahama channel, and had been escorting a schooner delivering a large amount of money to Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo.[3])

The Spanish vessels consisted of the 64-gun ship Asia, Commodore Don Francesco Montes, 40-gun frigate Anfitrite, Captain Don Diego Villogomez, and 16-gun ship-corvette Galgo, Captain Don Josef de Arias.[2] Captain W.G. Lobb of Crescent attempted to draw the Spanish vessels away from the convoy, and when that failed, he had the convoy disperse.

The two larger Spanish ships made for that part of the convoy with Calypso, but only captured the storeship General Goddard, the most valuable ship in the convoy.[4] She might well have evaded capture had General Goddard's master paid attention and followed the signals from the escorts.[5][6] The Spaniards reached Havana on 16 December, having captured a schooner as well on the way. The value of their prizes, including the naval stores, which they found of great use, was 440,000 pesos.[3]

Galgo sailed for the part of the convoy with Crescent, which captured her. The rest of the convoy arrived safely at Port Royal, Jamaica, some on 21 November with Calypso, and the remainder on 23 November with Crescent.[2]

Lieutenant William Dillon sailed her to Jamaica, and then assumed the position of first lieutenant on Crescent.[6] The British took Galgo into service under her existing name. (The Admiralty had intended to change her name to Chance, but she foundered before this took effect.[1])

British service[edit]

The Royal Navy commissioned Galgo under Commander George S. Stovin. in her brief career Galgo did take some prizes. Before May 1780, she captured a number of vessels: the Danish sloop Ark, of two guns, sailing from St Thomas to Jamaica in ballast; a Spanish schooner with a cargo of mahogany; the Spanish schooner Santa Catalina, carrying dry goods; the Spanish schooner Del Carmen, sailing from Puerto Rico to Jamaica; the Spanish vessel Bona Ventura; the Spanish vessel Dolorosa; and the Spanish vessel Nostra Senora del Carmen.[7]

Then between May and September she detained or took more vessels: Spanish schooner Del Carmen, sailing from Kingston to Santiago de Cuba with dry goods; a French boat sailing from Jeremiah to Santiago de Cuba with coffee; the French schooner Resource, carrying dry goods; the American schooner Ark, in ballast, but with 1,300 dollars; a French schooner laden with coffee (destroyed); and a Spanish schooner from the Main, carrying horses.[8]

When Lord Hugh Seymour transferred from the Leeward Islands to Jamaica, he sent Galgo to relieve Surinam, that she and her captain, Lieutenant Christopher Cole, might join him. However, the loss of Galgo frustrated this plan.[9]


Before she foundered, one naval officer who had dined aboard her, described her as very sharp and crank the brig appeared, and that being (to use a trite phrase) "all legs and wings like a butterfly", I should not like to belong to her, from a conviction, that if she ever was caught in one of the "white squalls" so peculiar to the climate, she would, in all probability, be converted into a wholesale coffin for all hands.[10]

On 9 October she was sailing off Virginia when just before midnight, as the wind picked up, the master, Thomas Forest, came on deck. He recommended a reduction in her sail area. Captain Stovin agreed, but while the crew was taking in some of the sails, a squall hit that pushed Galgo on her side. She quickly filled with water and sank within five minutes.[11] Ninety-six crew members, including Captain Stovin, and some 19 passengers drowned, including three women;[12] 25 men survived by hanging on to wreckage. A report from a survivor stated that when she fell over, Stovins exclaimed "Good God! she's over! I can't swim."[10] Next morning, the Hunter, an American ship under the command of Captain John McClintock and sailing from the West Indies to Bristol,[Note 1] happened to come by and rescued the survivors. Hunter took the survivors to New England, where several deserted the Royal Navy.[11]

As a consequence of the loss of the Galgo, the Admiralty sent out an order barring the purchase of any more vessels captured from the enemy. This was a misfortune for Captain Milne of Seine, who had just captured the French frigate Vengeance.[14] Still, the Admiralty must have relented as they did purchase Vengeance, and subsequently other vessels.


  1. ^ This account mentions passim, that there were 29 survivors.[13]
  1. ^ a b c Winfield (2008), p.289.
  2. ^ a b c "No. 15228". The London Gazette. 4 February 1800. pp. 116–117. 
  3. ^ a b Pavía y Pavía (1873), p.592.
  4. ^ Dillon (1953), Vol. 1, p.369.
  5. ^ Dillon 1953), Vol.1, p.366.
  6. ^ a b Marshall (1827), Supplement, Part 1, p.300.
  7. ^ "No. 15277". The London Gazette. 19 July 1800. p. 826. 
  8. ^ "No. 15291". The London Gazette. 20 September July 1800. p. 1082.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. ^ Marshall (1825), Vol. 2, Part 2, p.502.
  10. ^ a b Cabinet album (1830), pp.240-1.
  11. ^ a b Hepper (1994), pp.95-6.
  12. ^ Schoenberg (1802), Vol. 3, pp.474-5.
  13. ^ Granite State Monthly, (1886), Vol. 9, p.192.
  14. ^ Dillon (1953), Vol. 1, p.397.


  • Cabinet album (1830) The cabinet album, a collection of original and selected literature. (Hurst, Chance and Co.).
  • Dillon, Sir William Henry Dillon and Michael A. Lewis (ed.) (1953) A Narrative of my professional adventures (1790-1739). (Naval Records Society).
  • Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650-1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3. 
  • Marshall, John ( 1823–1835) Royal naval biography, or, Memoirs of the services of all the flag-officers, superannuated rear-admirals, retired-captains, post-captains, and commanders, whose names appeared on the Admiralty list of sea officers at the commencement of the present year 1823, or who have since been promoted ... (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown).
  • Pavía y Pavía, Francisco de Paula (1873) Galeria biografica de los generales de marina, jefes y personajes notables que figuraron en la misma corporacion desde 1700 á 1868. (J. Lopez).
  • Schomberg, Isaac (1802) Naval Chronology, Or an Historical Summary of Naval and Maritime Events from the Time of the Romans, to the Treaty of Peace 1802: With an Appendix, Volume 3. (London).
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1.