Friday 8 December 2023

All at Sea, Battle of Camperdown - Project Build, Part Four, The Leeward Division Completed

Battle of Camperdown - Oliver Hurst
The Leeward Division in the thick of it at Camperdown with Vice-admiral Sir Richard Onslow's HMS Monarch, subject of my last post seen to the right, likely engaging the Dutch 74-gun Jupiter, broadside to broadside.

In the last post covering this project to build the British and Dutch fleets at the Battle Camperdown in 1:700 scale, with the object of getting the collection up and playing in 2024, I looked at the second group of three ships that made up the nine of Vice-Admiral Onslow's Leeward Division, see link below.

JJ's Wargames - All at Sea, Battle of Camperdown Project Build, Post Three

In this post, number four, I am showcasing the final three ships, HMS Powerful 74-guns, HMS Agincourt 64-guns and HMS Adamant 50-guns.

The eight ships of the line that would form the Leeward Division at Camperdown, to this would be added the fourth rate Adamant 50-guns with, as shown here, the attached fifth-rate frigate HMS Beaulieu 40-guns (to be completed along with the other British small-ships).

The completion of these models and this part of the British fleet starts to break the back of this project as we head towards the New Year, by which time I am planning to complete the Dutch Rear under Rear-Admiral Hermanus Reijntjes with the completion of the three outstanding ships of his command, the two third-rates, Haarlem and Cerberus, and the fourth-rate Alkmaar.

A satisfying planner as we head towards Xmas 2023, showing the completion of the British Leeward Division.

So as with the previous posts in this series, as well as showcasing the new models, I thought it would be interesting to look at the statistics and history's of the ships these models represent together with other interesting facts from this particular battle and the ship's logs recording their participation in it.

The balance of the Leeward Division, from left to right, Agincourt 64-guns, Powerful 74-guns and Adamant 50-guns

HMS Powerful

HMS Powerful was part of the revived Elizabeth Class 74-gun ship originally designed by Sir Thomas Slade in 1765, and built and launched at Blackwall Yard, London on the 3rd April 1783.

The 74-gun Superb, followed by Powerful and Donegal with frigates Acasta and Amethyst in the Atlantic January 1806 - Derek Gardner

Her general characteristics were:
Tons burthen 1626 (bm)
Length of gundeck 168 feet, 6 inches 
Beam 47 feet, 0.75 inch
Depth of hold 19 feet, 8.5 inches

Her armament consisted of:
Gundeck: 28 x 32-pounder long guns
Upper gundeck: 28 x 18-pounders long guns
Quarterdeck: 14 x 9-pounder long guns
Forecastle: 4 x 9-pounder long guns

As part of the building program for the Royal Navy during the American War of Independence, Powerful was commissioned in the month of her launch under Captain Thomas Fitzherbert, until paid off in 1785. 

The drawings for HMS Berwick, sister ship of Powerful, the former launched in April 1775, illustrates the lines of this revised Elizabeth class third-rate 74.

Recommissioned in May 1786 under Captain Andrew Sutherland, she served as flagship to Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves, after which she went into Plymouth dockyard for so called, 'small repairs', costing the exchequer some £12,299.5.2d, about £2,722,325 at today's value, these repairs lasting from May 1788 to March 1789.

The Battle of Camperdown 1797 - Nicholas Pocock
Vessels illustrated from left to right are HMS Ardent 1796,  HMS, Powerful 1783 and HMS Venerable 1784. This must be in the mid afternoon, when the Powerful joined the ships of the British van in their attack on the Vrijheid, dismasted in the centre and with the Hercules depicted close on her stern quarter on fire.

In December 1793, Powerful was recommissioned under Captain Thomas Hicks, fitting out in Plymouth between March 1793 to January 1794 at a cost of £9,959, a further £1,170,458, before sailing to Jamaica under the command of Captain William Otway on the 15th January, her time in the Caribbean concluding seven months later with her paying off in the August of 1794.

Captain William O'Bryen Drury, took command of HMS Powerful in August 1795,
and under whose command she would serve at the Battle of Camperdown 11th October 1797

Recommissioned yet again in April 1795 under the command of Captain Richard Fisher she was fitted out in Portsmouth in July of that year for a further £10,381 just a little over £1.5 million in modern sterling, before coming under the command of Captain William O'Bryen Drury in the August, returning to Plymouth two years later in May 1797 for a further refit costing £8,924 another £1.3 million.

It would be under Captain O'Bryen Drury that she would serve at the Battle of Camperdown 11th October 1797 losing ten killed and seventy-eight wounded in the action.

The log of HMS Powerful in succinct to say the least, and contains the barest summary of her activities in the morning and afternoon of the 11th October.

Extracts from the log of HMS Monarch at the Battle of Camperdown
Log. JOSEPH WILLIAMS, Master. Official No. 2886.

October 11th.
A.M. At 7, tacked ship. Saw the enemy's fleet. 10, bearing down on the enemy's line. Let a reef out of the topsails. At noon, signal No. 95 by Admiral Duncan to exchange stations in the line. Took our station immediately as second to the Vice-Admiral close on his starboard beam. Fresh breezes and cloudy. Bearing down on the enemy's line.

At 1\2 past 12, the Vice-Admiral cut through the enemy's line, close astern of the Dutch Vice-Admiral. At the same time cut through and opened a close fire on the Dutch Vice-Admiral's second astern and on a frigate on our leebow.

At 16 minutes after one, our opponent struck and the frigate hauled off.

Made the signal to the ships astern that the enemy was not taken possession of. Loosed the mainsail, and set it, made sail along the enemy's line towards the van, engaging as we passed them.

Wore ship to support Admiral Duncan closely engaged in the van, opened our fire on the Dutch Admiral, as did another ship. At half-past 3, the Dutch Admiral being totally dismasted struck. The firing then ceased. At sunset, saw the land of Egmond. Employed knotting, splicing, &c. repairing the damages.

HMS Agincourt
The Agincourt was one of five ships purchased from the East India Company in early 1796 while building or being serviced by Thameside yards.

Her general characteristics were:
Tons burthen 1626 (bm)
Length of gundeck 172 feet, 8 inches 
Beam 43 feet, 4.5 inches
Depth of hold 19 feet, 8.75 inches

A plan of Agincourt dated 1795, originally East India Company Ship Earl of Talbot

Her armament consisted of:
Gundeck: 28 x 24-pounder long guns
Upper gundeck: 28 x 18-pounders long guns
Quarterdeck: 6 x 9-pounder long guns
Forecastle: 2 x 9-pounder long guns

Originally named East India Company (EIC) Ship Earl of Talbot, the Agincourt differed from the other four company ships purchased in that the EIC had designed these vessels to be some twelve to fourteen feet longer than a Navy built 64, allowing them in the original design to carry 28 x 18-pounder long guns on the lower deck, with one more gun port per deck on each side.

The extra port however was not used on four of them, with the Agincourt being the exception, allocated the 28 x 24-pdrs and 28 x 18-pdrs to fill her lower and upper deck, instead only carrying 6 x 9-pdrs on her quarterdeck instead of the ten issued to the others.

HMS Agincourt was commissioned in October 1796 under the command of John Williamson, joining the North Sea Fleet at the Nore where she was at Gravesend during the mutiny and under whose command she would serve at Camperdown on the 11th October suffering no casualties.

Captain John Williamson 1745 - 1798 circa 1775.
A difficult man it would seem, his last positive claim on posterity
is perhaps having Williamson Passage in Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island,
named after him. 

Captain Williamson deserves particular mention as, following the battle, he was brought to court-martial at Sheerness lasting from the 4th December until the 1st January 1798, charged with cowardice, negligence and disaffection, being subsequently cleared of the former and latter charges but found guilty of disobeying signals and not getting into action.

He was sentenced to being placed at the bottom of the captains list and rendered incapable of ever serving onboard a ship of the Royal Navy, effectively ending his naval career and appearing to have broken him with his death on the 27th October 1798 at his lodgings in London following a short illness and death put down to 'an inflammation of the liver and bowels' suggesting he might have drunk himself to death. 

Lieutenant Williamson would become infamous for his appearing to not come
to the aid of Captain Cook and his party when Cook was attacked and murdered
on the 14th February 1779 in Hawaii.

No stranger to conflict and controversy, Williamson, who joined the navy some time in 1759 as captain's servant to Captain Peter Denis commanding the Dorsetshire 74-guns, he seeing action at the Battle of Quiberon Bay that same year, would pass his lieutenants exam in August 1766 and would later serve as a junior lieutenant aboard HMS Resolution during Captain James Cook's last voyage of exploration.

Williamson was in command of the launch at Kealakekua Bay when Cook and his men were attacked and Cook and several of his men were killed, with Williamson, who had been at odds with Cook, was blamed by some for not doing enough to save his colleagues, he claiming to have misunderstood Cook's signals, and supposedly having to fight several duels as a result of such accusations.

However his career continued to prosper, promoted Commander in October 1780 and a Post Captain on 11th June 1782, and commanding HMS Crocodile, a 24-gun sloop until she was wrecked on a return voyage from India in May 1784.

Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Cloberry Christian, made Commander in Chief of the Leeward Islands in 1796
and responsible for bringing Captain Williamson to a court-martial on charges of disrespect to a senior officer, namely him.

In December 1795, he was in command of HMS Grampus 50-guns on a voyage to the West Indies but was in front of a court-martial by May 1796 for being disrespectful to Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Cloberry Christian for which he was found guilty, but even this did not stop him being appointed Captain of HMS Agincourt in the October.

There are several recorded statements from contemporaries that lend a clue to the character of this seemingly difficult man, with Midshipman James Trevenen aboard the Resolution describing him as;

'a wretch, feared and hated by his inferiors, detested by his equals and despised by his superiors; a very devil, to whom none of our midshipmen have spoke for above a year.'

William Griffin, cooper aboard Resolution wrote that he was;

'a very bad man and a great Tyrant.'

Sir Richard Onslow said, 10th December 1797;
'Captain Williamson is a troublesome man - often disagreeing and in affrays, that He challenged Lord Chatham (John Pitt) who would not employ him - had quarrelled with Captain Hooper.'

Lady Spencer, wife of The Earl George Spencer said;
'Captain Williamson is a black-guard.'

[The log of the Agincourt makes it appear that she rather distinguished herself than otherwise in the battle. It must be remembered that, according to the evidence for the prosecution at the court-martial on Captain Williamson, she was hove to for some considerable time a mile or so to windward of the Dutch fleet. 

This was denied by Captain Williamson and by the master. But, as the Court inflicted a heavy sentence on the former, and pointed out to the latter, while he was giving his evidence, the penalties to which witnesses guilty of perjury or prevarication were liable, it is clear that the Agincourt's account of the battle cannot be entirely trusted.]

Extracts from the log of HMS Monarch at the Battle of Camperdown
Log. PHILIP Cox, Master. Official No. 2278.

October 11th. AM
. . . At 25 minutes before 12, answered signal No. 87. At 22 minutes before 12, answered signal No. 36. At 10 minutes before 12, answered signal No. 14. At 8 minutes before 12, answered signal 39, and at 5 minutes before 12, answered signal No. 41. Squally with small rain. Set the mainsail. Tacked ship and made sail. Answered signals 14, 68 and 11. Cleared ship for action. Set topgallant sails. Saw 22 sail of the Dutch fleet lying in order of battle. At 25 minutes before 12, answered signals as above.

P.M. At 1\4 before 1, the Monmouth and the ship ahead of her crossed us and run to leeward. At 10 minutes before 1, Vice-Admiral Onslow began the attack on the Dutch Admiral. At 1, we, in the Monarch's wake, engaged a yellow-sided ship.

20 minutes past 1, the Belliqueux, being next astern and to leeward, came between us and the Dutch ship; finding our ships so crowding together and likely to damage each other, ceased firing and made sail to engage a black Dutch ship ahead.

1\2 past, engaged the black ship right abreast and to leeward, our ships crowding up rendered it dangerous to fire any longer there; finding there was so many of our ships in the rear, hauled our wind in order to get ahead of the Dutch Vice-Admiral, set foresail and making sail, when the boatswain came aft and reported the fore mast gone. 

We then bore up to engage a Dutch black ship to leeward of us, but the Monmouth being to leeward of us and wearing, got up with her before we possibly could. The carpenter coming aft and reporting the mast would stand, we again hauled our wind, and fired into a yellow-sided ship with a Dutch flag flying, called the Double Prince. After some time, being reported she had struck, in the act of making sail for the purpose of joining the van, it was called out from the poop she had not struck, and meant to rake us ; had brought our starboard side almost to bear upon her, when one of our ships on the starboard tack fired 2 shots at her. 

Turned up hands to make sail for the purpose of joining the van, when a large Dutch ship coming down before the wind, we beat to quarters and got the larboard guns cleared. The large Dutch ship ran aboard the other ship, and seeing us on her larboard bow, hailed us, and desired we would take possession of her. 

1\4 before 3, the firing ended in the Admiral's division. At 4, Admiral NW 3/4 mile. At 7, wore ship. Admiral made signal No. 101. \ past 8, Admiral made the signal No. 171. 1\2 past 10, backed and filled occasionally. Hoisted out 2 cutters and pinnace. Do. employed sending men on board the prizes and taking prisoners on board. Damages received in the action (viz.) 1 shot in the starboard side, 1 do. in the larboard do., 1 between wind and water, two foremost shrouds and fore mast much damaged, mizen mast wounded, a few shot through the sails.

HMS Adamant

Spithead Anchorage - Geoff Hunt
Illustrating the ships captained by Jack Aubrey, the Leopard takes centre stage, sister ship of the Adamant

HMS Adamant was a Portland Class 50-gun fourth-rate ship of the line, one of eleven designed by John Williams and built by Peter Baker of Liverpool and launched on the 24th January 1780.

The class were the largest group of 50's built to a single design with the peculiar conditions of warfare in the American colonies leading to an increased rate of production in the 1770's.

Her general characteristics were:
Tons burthen 1626 (bm)
Length of gundeck 146 feet, 3 inches 
Beam 40 feet, 9 inches
Depth of hold 17 feet, 7.5 inches

The lines of Adamant's sister ship Bristol , launched 25th October 1775 at Sheerness Docktard

Her armament consisted of:
Gundeck: 22 x 24-pounder long guns
Upper gundeck: 22 x 12-pounders long guns
Quarterdeck: 4 x 6-pounder long guns
Forecastle: 2 x 6-pounder long guns

Commissioned in November 1779 under the command of Captain Gideon Johnstone, she sailed for North America on 13th August 1780, and was with Vice Admiral Arbuthnot's squadron at the Battle of Cape Henry on the 16th March 1781, later escorting a homeward bound convoy in December 1782 under her new captain David Graves who took command the previous February.

The French 74-gun ship Conquerant took the brunt of the British attack at the Battle of Cape Henry suffering 93 casualties out of a French total of 181. Adamant escaped the action without loss, that saw this prelude action to the Chesapeake later in the year end in favour of the British with the French squadron forced to depart, ending plans to cooperate with Lafayette's army.

In April 1783, Adamant was paid off, but was soon recommissioned for foreign service, refitting between May and September that year, before sailing to the Leeward Islands in November where she served as the flagship of Admiral Sir Richard Hughes for the next three years, before returning home to be paid off in September 1786.

In August 1787 she entered the docks in Sheerness to begin a 'great repair' which completed in May 1789 at a cost of £23,533, about £4.8 million in today's money. Recommissioned in the February and fitted out as a flagship she sailed for Nova Scotia in June with Admiral Hughes hoisting his flag in her, serving three years on the station until her return home in June 1792 to be paid off.

Captain William Hotham, circa 1806 - John Raphael Smith

Hurriedly recommissioned in April 1793, with the outbreak of war with France, she sailed for the Leeward Islands in September 1794 under Captain Henry D'Esterre Darby to be succeeded by Captain Henry Warre in November 1796, and by May 1797 had returned to home waters, for Adamant to be caught up in the Nore Mutiny, 12th May 1797, with Captain William Hotham in command since January.

Of the two-decker ships of Duncan's fleet, only his flagship HMS Venerable and the Adamant under Hotham remained loyal, and it was just these two ships that continued the blockade of the Dutch fleet, maintaining a bluff by continual signalling to a non-existent fleet beyond the horizon until the mutiny collapsed in June.

Adamant would be under the command of Captain Hotham at Camperdown escaping without any casualties from the battle.

[The Adamant's station in the line was next ahead of the Isis, but she was ordered on joining the fleet on the 11th to take station astern of the Russell. The Alkmaar was therefore her opponent. She appears to have passed on to the Haarlem. Mr. Bom credits her with having broken the line between the Wassenaer and Batavier, but under the circumstances it is probable that some other ship was mistaken for the Adamant.]

Extracts from the log of HMS Adamant at the Battle of Camperdown
Log. WALES CLODD, Master. Official No. 2289.

October 11th AM
 . . At 10, bore up and made sail, as did the fleet. 1\2 past, spoke H.M.S. Circe, who ordered us to take our station astern of the Russell. 1/4 past 11 , shortened sail and took 2 reefs in the topsails per signal. At noon, fresh breezes and hazy. Running down towards the Dutch fleet, which were forming the line on the larboard tack.

P.M. Moderate breezes and cloudy. 10 minutes past 12, in 3rd reef the topsails. 1\2 past, out 3rd reef. Set topgallant sails and driver. Standing down to the enemy. 40 minutes past 12, Admiral Onslow began to engage the Dutch Vice-Admiral.

At 1, began firing on the enemy's ships and continued till 40 minutes past 2, when we observed 4 sail of the line and a frigate had struck to us and our ships in the rear; had the fore topsail yard shot away with sundry of the topmast and topgallant rigging. 

At 3, answered the signal to stay by prizes. Out boats and took possession of the Haarlem. Sent the 1st and 4th lieutenants, 1 petty officer, and 63 seamen and marines on board her. Employed getting up fore topsail yard, replacing rigging. Received from the Haarlem 76 prisoners. 

At 5, answered our signal to come within hail of the Monarch. 1\2 past 6, spoke do., who told us to stay by the Haarlem.

At 7, bent fore topsail and set do. At 10, in boats. At 11, took the Haarlem, 68 guns, in tow and made sail. Light breezes and cloudy weather.

October 12th.
A.M. Moderate breezes and cloudy. 6. Out 2nd reef the topsails and made all sail. Saw the greatest part of the fleet in the SE quarter with several of their prizes. Employed variously, cleaning ship, &c. Tacked ship, fresh breezes and cloudy. Haarlem in tow. H.M. ships Russell and Monmouth to leeward with their prizes in tow, the Monnikendam, Dutch frigate, in company.

Next up: The season's festivities kick-off with a trip up to North Devon to enjoy a WWII recreation of the battle to capture Pegasus Bridge, played with friends using Flames of War, AAR to follow, and I'm aiming to try and get the next post in this series up before the Xmas break looking at the three outstanding ships of the Dutch Rear, the two third-rates, Haarlem and Cerberus, and the fourth-rate Alkmaar, before preparing my Year End Review and the look forward to plans for 2024 which I'll post in the normal way, in the break in between Xmas and the New Year.

More Anon

No comments:

Post a Comment