French frigate Aréthuse (1812)
The Aréthuse was a 46-gun 18-pounder frigate of the French Navy. She served during the Napoleonic Wars, taking part in a major single-ship action. Much later she took part in the conquest of Algeria, and ended her days as a coal depot in Brest.
|Launched:||15 May 1812|
|Out of service:||1861|
|Fate:||Coal Depot in Brest|
|Class and type:||Pallas-class frigate|
|Length:||46.93 m (154 ft 0 in)|
|Beam:||11.91 m (39 ft 1 in)|
|Draught:||5.9 m (19 ft 4 in)|
|Propulsion:||1,950 m2 (21,000 sq ft) of sail|
Aréthuse was laid down at Nantes in 1807 and launched on 15 May 1812.
Cruise off West Africa, 1812-1813
On 25 November 1812 the frigates Aréthuse (Captain Pierre Bouvet) and Rubis sailed from Nantes to intercept British trade off West Africa. In January, having captured a Portuguese ship, La Serra, they reached Cap-Vert. They also captured Little Belt, J. Wilson, master, sailing from Altea to London, Friends, Houston, master, sailing from Teneriffe to Belfast, and a Spanish brig sailing from Majorca to Puerto Rico. The French put the masters and crews on Delphina, a Portuguese they had captured and plundered. Delphina arrived at Pernambuco on 31 January.
On 27 January 1813, Aréthuse intercepted the brig HMS Daring (Lieutenant Pascoe) off Tamara (one of the Iles de Los off Guinea). Pascoe ran Daring aground and set fire to her to avoid her capture. The French managed to take part of her crew prisoner but released them against their parole and put them in a boat. Pascoe and those of his men who had escaped capture sailed to the Sierra Leone River, where they arrived the next day. There they reported the presence of the French frigates to HMS Amelia (Captain Frederick Paul Irby).
In the night of 5 February, a storm threw Rubis ashore, wrecking her. The same storm damaged Aréthuse' rudder. Rubis was abandoned and set afire, while Aréthuse effected her repairs.
On 6 February, HMS Amelia, guided and reinforced by sailors from Daring, attacked Aréthuse. A furious, 4-hour night battle followed. Aréthuse and Amelia disabled each other by shooting at their sails and rigging. Eventually the ships parted, neither able to gain the upper hand, and both with heavy casualties: Amelia had 46 killed and 51 wounded; Aréthuse suffered over 20 killed and 88 wounded, and 30 round shot had struck her hull on the starboard side below the quarter deck.
Aréthuse returned to the wreck of Rubis to gather her crew, and returned to France. Soon afterwards Aréthuse captured the British privateer Cerberus, and arrived back in St Malo on 19 April having taken 15 prizes.
Later life and disposal
Notes, citations, and references
- James, William (1837) The Naval History of Great Britain from the declaration of war by France in February 1793 to the accession of George IV in January 1820: with an account of the origin and progressive increase of the British Navy (New edition in Six volumes).(London: R Bentley.