Re: Naval stuff
- --- In WarOf1812@y..., "Ibbotson, Mark [LSS]" <
> Could anyone yeild any info on any captured ships of war I.E frigates "not merchant" being returned to their countries of origin?Armchairadm has covered the situation well. I will try to go a bit
> 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?.
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