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Re: Naval stuff

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  • Joel.B.Sanborn@Dartmouth.EDU
    ... Armchairadm has covered the situation well. I will try to go a bit further. As Mark has said, it was not likely that a captured prize vessel would be
    Message 1 of 3 , Dec 1, 2001
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      --- In WarOf1812@y..., "Ibbotson, Mark [LSS]" <
      m.ibbotson@l...> wrote:
      > Could anyone yeild any info on any captured ships of war I.E frigates "not merchant" being returned to their countries of origin?
      > I know its not likely and that prizes were normaly renamed and commisioned into what ever service had their hands on them.
      > Also once Britain got her hands on some American 44's did they re-design there own frigates to match those of America? or did the RN attitude dictate that there was safety in numbers?.
      > Ibbo

      Armchairadm has covered the situation well. I will try to go a bit

      As Mark has said, it was not likely that a captured 'prize' vessel
      would be returned to her original owners. Under some circumstances,
      such as the prize having been taken either before or after the proper
      date, that is to say not during hostilities, once in prize or
      Admiralty court, she could be returned, or precisely, not condemned as
      a prize of war and ruled to have been unjustly seized.

      Royal Navy practice was to keep a prize under her original name
      unless there was already a ship on the rolls under the same name.
      Royal Navy dockyards often took off the lines of prize vessels,
      especially if they were noted sailors, or of an advanced design. They
      would sometimes build a copy to the same or similar lines. This is
      what happened to President. She was captured in 1815, her lines were
      taken off in Portsmouth dockyard as she had a reputation as a fast
      ship, but she was too much damaged by her grounding prior to her
      capture and she was broken up in 1817. A 'ship of the same name was
      built on somewhat the same lines' (Chapelle, Hist. of the American
      Sailing Navy) which also performed well.

      As to Mark's last point, whether there was 'safety in numbers', the
      British certainly had the numbers.
      On the Royal Navy roster of Jan. 1814 there were 99 ships of the
      line, 1st to 3rd rates, in commission, 120 guns down to 74, plus 500
      4th rates to frigates down to sloops-of war and cutters, plus
      auxilliaries, to a total in commission of 654 vessels. More were
      under repair or laid up 'in ordinary', afloat, but not rigged or ready
      for service. These latter would include hospital hulks and prison
      I have not been able to find a similar roster for the same date for
      the US Navy, but I would be greatly surprised if the US had many more
      than a tenth of that 654, and certainly none of consequence of larger
      size than the 44's of 1795.

      J B Sanborn
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