HMS Vestal (1779)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMS Vestal.
Royal Navy EnsignGreat Britain
Name: HMS Vestal
Ordered: 18 March 1778
Builder: Robert & John Batson, Limehouse
Laid down: 1 May 1778
Launched: 24 December 1779
Completed: 25 February 1780 (at Deptford Dockyard)
Commissioned: November 1779
Honours and
Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Egypt"[1]
Fate: Sold February 1816
General characteristics
Class and type: 28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate
Tons burthen: 601 3594 (bm)
  • 120 ft 6 in (36.73 m) (overall)
  • 99 ft 6 in (30.33 m) (keel)
Beam: 33 ft 8 12 in (10.3 m)
Depth of hold: 11 ft 0.5 in (3.366 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 200 officers and men
  • Upper deck: 24 × 9-pounder guns
  • QD: 4 × 6-pounder guns + 4 × 18-pounder carronades
  • Fc: 2 × 18-pounder carronades
  • 12 × swivel guns

HMS Vestal was a 28-gun Enterprise-class sixth-rate frigate of the Royal Navy.

American Revolutionary War[edit]

Vestal was first commissioned in November 1779 under the command of Captain George Keppel.

On 3 September 1780, she captured Mercury which was transporting Henry Laurens, the United States' minister to Holland.[2]

On 15 March 1783 the British frigates Astraea and Vesta, and Duc de Chartres captured the Massachusetts letter of marque Julius Caesar.[3] Julius Caesar was a privateer of eighteen 9-pounder guns and carried a crew of 100 men under the command of Captain Thomas Benson, of Salem. Her captors sent her into New York City where the Vice admiralty court condemned her.[4]

French Revolutionary Wars[edit]

Vestal took part in the Action of 22 August 1795 between British and Dutch frigate squadrons off the Norwegian coast.

On 14 April 1797, Vestal, under the command of Captain Charles White, captured the French privateer schooner Voltiguer, formerly the lugger Venguer, some seven leagues off Flamborough Head. Voltiguer was armed with eight 3-pounder guns and eight swivel guns, and had a crew of 40 men, 14 of whom were away on prizes. She was 12 days out of Calais and had captured a brig and two sloops. White took Voltiguer into the Humber.[5]

Next, Vestal captured Jalouse at about 5a.m. on 13 May near Elsinor after a chase of about nine hours and running about 84 hours. For an hour and a half during the chase Jalouse fired her stern chasers (two long 12-pounder guns). White was able to bring Vestal alongside Jalouse and fired three broadsides before she struck, having suffered great damage to her masts and rigging. At the time of capture, Jalouse had 16 guns, though she was pierced for 20, and had shifted some guns to the vacant ports. The armament consisted of twelve "very long 12-pounders", and four 6-pounder guns. Her commander, "C. Plucket", had a crew of 153 men, two of who were killed and five of whom were wounded. Vestal suffered no casualties. Vestal brought Jalouse into the Humber.[6]

Because Vestal served in the navy's Egyptian campaign (8 March to 2 September 1801), her officers and crew qualified for the clasp "Egypt" to the Naval General Service Medal that the Admiralty authorized in 1850 to all surviving claimants.[Note 1]

Notes and citations[edit]

  1. ^ A first-class share of the prize money awarded in April 1823 was worth £34 2s 4d; a fifth-class share, that of a seaman, was worth 3s 11½d. The amount was small as the total had to be shared between 79 vessels and the entire army contingent.[7]
  1. ^ "no. 21077". The London Gazette. 15 March 1850. pp. 791–792. 
  2. ^ Tuchman, Barbara. First Salute: A View of the American Revolution. Random House LLC. 
  3. ^ "no. 12804". The London Gazette. 14 November 1786. p. 553. 
  4. ^ American War of Independence at Sea: Julius Caesar. Accessed 13 October 2016.
  5. ^ "no. 14001". The London Gazette. 11 April 1797. p. 338. 
  6. ^ "no. 14010". The London Gazette. 16 May 1797. p. 447. }
  7. ^ "no. 17915". The London Gazette. 3 April 1823. p. 633.