HMS Medea (1778)
Plan of Medea dated 1778
|Ordered:||14 May 1776|
|Builder:||James Martin Hillhouse, Bristol|
|Laid down:||June 1776|
|Launched:||28 April 1778|
|Completed:||15 September 1778 (at Plymouth Dockyard)|
|Fate:||Sold to break up 1805|
|Class and type:||28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate|
|Tons burthen:||604 77⁄94 (bm)|
|Beam:||33 ft 10 in (10.3 m)|
|Depth of hold:||11 ft 0 1⁄2 in (3.366 m)|
|Sail plan:||Full-rigged ship|
|Complement:||200 officers and men|
HMS Medea was a 28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy. Medea was first commissioned in May 1778 under the command of Captain William Cornwallis. She was sold for breaking up in 1805.
In July 1778, Medea started to cruise in the North Sea and the Channel. Off Cape Finisterre on 20 October 1778, being in company with the ship-of-the-line Jupiter under Captain Francis Reynolds, she met Triton under Captain Comte de Ligondès, but Medea got so badly damaged that she was forced to break off the action with the loss of one man killed and three wounded. She later, with HM hired ship Countess of Scarborough, shared in the capture, on 17 June 1779, of the French privateers Compte de Maurepas and Due de la Vauguyon. Medea captured Due de la Vauguyon (or Duc de Lavaugnon) of Dunkirk, a cutter of 14 guns and 98 men, after a fight of an hour. The fight cost the French four men killed and ten wounded; Medea had no casualties. The Royal Navy took Duc de la Vauginon into service under her existing name.
Duc de la Vauguyon had captured and ransomed a lobster smack sailing from Norway to Britain. The master of the smack informed Captain James Montague of Medea that the privateer had had a consort. Medea's rigging was too cut up for her to pursue the consort, so Montague sent Countess of Scarborough, Captain Thomas Piercy, after her. Piercy caught up with Compte de Maurepas, of Dunkirk, after a few hours and the privateer struck without resistance. She was armed with fourteen 4-pounder guns and had a crew of 87 men.
On 7 September 1781 Medea captured Belisarius, "a fast sailing frigate of 26 guns and 147 men, belonging to Salem". Medea captured her off the Delaware River. Amphitrite and Savage shared in the capture. The Royal Navy took her into service as the sixth rate HMS Belisarius, but then sold her in 1783, after the end of the war.
Medea made a number of other captures in summer 1781. These included the ship Phoenix (1 June), the ship Rover (20 June), the schooner Neptune (30 July; with Amphitrite and General Monk), and the brig Marianne (3 August).
- "no. 12061". The London Gazette. 26 February 1780. p. 2.
- Beatson (1804), Vol. 4, p.558.
- (Boston Gazette, 5, 19 March, 30 April, 14 May, 2 July 1781; Independent Chronicle, 4 May 1781; Massachusetts Mag., July, October, 1910, January, 1911, January, 1912; Mass. Court Rec., 14 February, 3, 6, 7 March, 19 May 1781 ; Mass. Rev. Rolls, xxxix, 45; Mass. Archives, clviii, 212; Fox, 79-88.)
- "no. 12227". The London Gazette. 22 September 1781. p. 1.
- Beatson, Robert (1804) Naval and military memoirs of Great Britain, from 1727 to 1783. Vol 4. (Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme).
- Gardiner, Robert (1992) The First Frigates. (London:Conway Maritime Press). ISBN 0-85177-601-9.
- Lyon, David (1993) The Sailing Navy List. (London:Conway Maritime Press). ISBN 0-85177-617-5.
- Winfield, Rif (2007) British Warships in the Age of Sail, 1714 to 1792. (London: Seaforth Publishing). ISBN 978-1-84415-700-6.