HMS Victorious (1808)
|Ordered:||21 December 1803|
|Builder:||Adams, Bucklers Hard|
|Laid down:||February 1805|
|Launched:||20 October 1808|
|General characteristics |
|Class and type:||Swiftsure-class ship of the line|
|Tons burthen:||1724 6⁄94 (bm)|
|Length:||173 ft (53 m) (gundeck)|
|Beam:||47 ft 6 in (14.48 m)|
|Depth of hold:||20 ft 9 in (6.32 m)|
|Sail plan:||Full rigged ship|
Her first action came the year after her launch, as part of the Baltic Squadron, in which she assisted in the bombardment of the port of Flushing (Vlissingen) in what is now the Netherlands. The naval bombardment was just a part of a much larger operation; the land force consisted of some 30,000 men, and the objectives were simply to assist the Austrians by invading the Low Countries and to destroy the French Fleet at their believed location of Flushing.
The town of Flushing was actually seized, but the whole invasion soon became irrelevant and pointless, for the French Fleet had actually escaped to the port of Antwerp, and the Austrians had been defeated and were negotiating peace with the French. Over 4,000 British soldiers were killed during the expedition, 106 due to combat, the rest because of an illness known as Walcheren Fever.
Her deployment to the Mediterranean saw Victorious engage in her first skirmish against a French warship, on 22 February 1812 in the northern Adriatic Sea during Battle of Pirano, against the French Rivoli, 74, which was eventually defeated with much of her crew being killed and wounded. Rivoli was captured once the skirmish came to an end and she later served in action as a Royal Navy warship against the French. Victorious won the lineage its first battle honour during this engagement.
Victorious served as part of Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn's fleet in the Chesapeake Bay during the War of 1812. She participated in the blockade of the Elizabeth River, keeping the USS Constellation at her berth in Norfolk during the conflict.
- Lavery, Ships of the Line, vol. 1, p. 188.
- Winfield 2014, p. 77