Carysfort vs Castor

29th May 1794
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Swiftsure vs Atalante 6.5.1794
Next action : Glorious 1st of June 1.6.1794


Great Britain

Unknown Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Carysfort (28) Francis Laforey (1767-1835)

République Française

Unknown Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Castor (34)  

Notes on Action

Description of the actionW005

On the 29th of May, in latitude 46° 38' north, longitude 9° 40' west, the British 28-gun frigate Carysfort, Captain Francis Laforey, fell in with the French (late British) 32-gun frigate Castor, Captain L'Huillier, having in tow a Dutch merchant brig, in chase of which, five days before, she had parted from M. Nielly's squadron. The brig was cast off, and an action commenced, that lasted, without intermission, one hour and fifteen minutes; at the end of which time the Castor, who had on board her English guns, as specified at H, in the table at p. 91, with four 24-pounder carronades in addition, hauled down the republican colours.

The Carysfort, whose armament was four 18-pounder carronades beyond her establishment at I, in the same table, was very slightly injured in masts, rigging, or hull; and her loss in the action, out of a crew of 180 men and boys (she being 18 men short), amounted to no more than one seaman killed, and three seamen and one marine wounded. The damages of the Castor, on the other hand, were tolerably severe; having had her main topgallantmast shot away, her mainmast badly wounded, and her hull struck in several places. Her loss, out of a crew of 200 men, consisted of 16 officers, seamen, and marines killed, and nine wounded.

Broadside-guns No 16 18
lbs 156 212
Crew No 180 200
Size tons 586 681

This statement shows, that great credit was due to Captain Laforey, his two lieutenants (Richard Worsley and George Sayer), remaining officers, and a very new ship's company, for having captured the Castor. It is also due to the French officers and crew to state, that the latter consisted of men very recently draughted from all the ships of Rear-admiral Nielly's squadron; and who, of course, did not find on board the Castor a rope, or an article of any sort, arranged in the manner to which they had been accustomed

Naval General Service MedalEWIKI
A Naval General Service Medal Clasp was authorised for this action in 1847

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Niek van Diepen on Sunday 8th of January 2017 20:47

The citation above is from James. The description in Clowes, Vol 4, p. 485, is as follows: "On May 10th [1794], the Castor, 32, Captain Thomas Troubridge, was captured on her way to Newfoundland, without any resistance, by the French Patriote, 74, one of Admiral Nielly's squadron. On the 29th she was sighted by the Carysfort, 28, Captain Francis Laforey, and, after seventy-five minutes' action, recaptured. On board were twenty of the Castor's British crew."
So I was wrong, this is a different Castor.
Winfield & Roberts, French Warships 1786-1861, does not mention a frigate by the name of Castor, so it is likely that the elderly Dutch 1758 Castor was removed from the French strength in 1786, or perhaps never taken into French service.

Posted by Cy on Friday 6th of January 2017 19:36

However the source does explicitly state that she did have English Guns.

Posted by Niek van Diepen on Friday 6th of January 2017 08:51

As far as I can trace this ship it is the Dutch Republic Castor 36 (1758), captured May 30, 1781 by the British, then captured by the French on June 19, 1781, on her way to Britain. So it is very unlikely she had English guns on board.

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