HMS Maria (1807)

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Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Maria
Builder: Origins unknown
Acquired: 1807 by purchase
Commissioned: c.April 1808
Fate: Captured 1808
French Navy EnsignFrance
Name: Maria
Acquired: 1808 by capture
Fate: Burned February 1809
General characteristics [1]
Type: gun-brig
Tonnage: 172 (bm)
Propulsion: Sails
Sail plan: Brig
Complement: 65
Armament: 12 x 12-pounder carronades, 2 x 4-pounder bow chasers

HMS Maria was a gun-brig the Royal Navy purchased in 1807 and commissioned at Antigua in 1808. On 29 September 1808 the French corvette Départment des Landes captured her. The French burnt Maria in February 1809 at Martinique to prevent her recapture.


The Royal Navy commissioned her at Antigua in the West Indies in April 1808 under the command of Lieutenant James Bennett.[1]

Action of 29 September[edit]

On 29 September she was sailing off Guadeloupe when she encountered the French corvette Départment des Landes, of 22 guns (sixteen 24-pounder carronades, four 12-pounder guns, and two 9-pounder guns on the quarterdeck), plus a large swivel on the forecastle.[2] [Note 1][Note 2] Départment des Landes had a crew of at least 160 men and boys, commanded by Captain Joseph-François Raoul.[3]

Unable to maneuver, Maria took two broadsides. The French called on Bennett to surrender, which he refused. Three grapeshot from the next broadside killed him.[4] The master, Joseph Dyason, then continued the combat but eventually had to strike. Maria had suffered six men killed, including Bennett, and nine wounded. The French had suffered at most a couple of men wounded.[3] After the French had gotten all their prisoners off Maria, the prize crew had to run her aground at Guadeloupe to prevent her from sinking due to the damage she had sustained.[3][5] The French provided a cartel to Dominica to permit Dyason to report the loss to Rear-Admiral Alexander Cochrane.[2]

French service[edit]

The French later refloated Maria and took her into the French Navy under her existing name. The French burnt her at Martinique in February 1809 to prevent the British from capturing her during their invasion of Martinique.[5]

Notes, citations, and references[edit]


  1. ^ James says sixteen 24-pounder carronades and four long 8-pounders on the main deck, two brass 6-pounders on the quarterdeck, plus a large swivel on the forecastle.[3]
  2. ^ Dyason gives the French vessel's name as Sards, which perhaps was a nickname.[2]


  1. ^ a b Winfield (2008), p.350.
  2. ^ a b c "No. 16215". The London Gazette. 3 January 1809. p. 16. 
  3. ^ a b c d James (1837), Vol.5, pp. 79–80.
  4. ^ Hepper (1994), p.125.
  5. ^ a b Winfield and Roberts (2015), p. 221.


  • Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650–1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3. 
  • James, William (1837). The Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV. R. Bentley. 
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1-86176-246-1. 
  • Winfield, Rif & Stephen S Roberts (2015) French Warships in the Age of Sail 1786–1861: Design Construction, Careers and Fates. (Seaforth Publishing). ISBN 978-1-84832-204-2