HMS Orpheus (1780)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Royal Navy EnsignUK
Name: HMS Orpheus
Ordered: 2 October 1778
Builder: Adams & Barnard, Deptford
Laid down: 7 July 1779
Launched: 3 June 1780
Completed: By 15 July 1780
Fate: Wrecked on 23 January 1807
General characteristics
Class and type: 32–gun Amazon-class fifth-rate
Tons burthen: 6886694 (bm)
  • 126 ft 4 in (38.5 m) (overall)
  • 104 ft 8 in (31.9 m) (keel)
Beam: 35 ft 2 14 in (10.7 m)
Depth of hold: 12 ft (3.7 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 220
  • Upper deck: 26 x 12-pounder guns
  • QD: 4 x 6-pounder guns + 4 x 18-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 x 6-pounder guns + 2 x 18-pounder carronades

HMS Orpheus was a 32–gun fifth rate frigate of the Royal Navy. She was launched in 1780, and served for more than a quarter of a century, before she was wrecked in 1807.[1][2]

American War of Independence[edit]

On 14 April 1781, Orpheus and HMS Roebuck captured the USS Confederacy off the Delaware. The Royal Navy briefly took her into service as HMS Confederate.[3]

French Revolutionary Wars[edit]

On 5 May 1794, Orpheus captured the French frigate Duguay Trouin, the former East Indiaman Princess Royal, which the French had captured on 27 September 1793.

On 22 June 1796 Orpheus was in the Straits of Banca, where she captured the Dutch brig Harlingen. The British took Harlingen into service as HMS Amboyna.

In August 1797 Orpheus was reported as being in Madras and Captain William Hill was appointed commander.

Napoleonic Wars[edit]

On 16 April 1806, Orpheus, Captain Thomas Briggs, was in company with the revenue cutter Badger. They shared in the proceeds of the capture of two merchant vessels, Vrou Fingina and Vyf Gesusters.[Note 1]


Orpheus, under the command of Captain Thomas Briggs, arrived off Jamaica from England in the evening of 22 January 1807. Being short of water, Briggs decided to try to sail her into Port Royal, rather than wait for a pilot. Around midnight Orpheus grounded on a reef that was not accurately marked on her charts. Efforts to lighten her failed and she took on water. When the water reached her main deck, the crew took to the boats, abandoning her.[5]

Notes, citations and references[edit]


  1. ^ Prize money was paid in June 1815. A first-class share was worth £77 0s 1d; a fifth-class share, that of a seaman, was worth 10s 1½d.[4]


  1. ^ Winfield. British Warships in the Age of Sail. p. 203.
  2. ^ Colledge. Ships of the Royal Navy. p. 252.
  3. ^ Winfield p.218
  4. ^ "No. 17020". The London Gazette. 6 June 1815. p. 1081.
  5. ^ Hepper (1994), p. 116.