Capture of the Topaze

21st January 1809 - 22nd January 1809
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Capture of French Guiana by Portuguese forces 6.1.1809 - 12.1.1809
Next action : Capture of the Vengeur 24.1.1809


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Cleopatra (32) Samuel John Pechell
Jason (32) Thomas John Cochrane (1789-1872), William Maude
Hazard (16) Hugh Cameron (d.1809)

Empire Français

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Topaze (40)   Captured 12 killed, 14 wounded

Notes on Action

On December, 1808, the Topaze, 40, Captain P. N. Lahalle, with a cargo of flour for Cayenne, had escaped from Brest, after a brush with the Loire, 38, in which she suffered some damage. On reaching Cayenne, she had found the port blockaded, and had steered for Guadeloupe. Beaching that island on the night of January 21st-22nd, 1809, she was sighted by the Hazard, 18, Commander Hugh Cameron, Jason, 38, Captain William Maude, and Cleopatra, 32, Captain Samuel John Brooke Pechell, and took refuge under the guns of a battery on Pointe Noire. The Cleopatra was the first of the British ships to get near her, and at about 4.30 P.M. on the 22nd anchored with springs and opened fire. The Topaze had moored with springs, and she poured in her fire as the Cleopatra approached. Almost at once one of the Topaze's springs was shot away, and the French frigate swung round, exposing herself to be raked. Though unable to bring the greater part of her broadside to bear, she held out till the Jason and Hazard came up, when she struck, with 12 killed and 14 wounded. The British loss was 2 killed and 1 wounded.

Previous comments on this page

Posted by Tim Oakley on Thursday 30th of June 2016 05:20

When a ship anchors with a spring it means that a second [or more] cable is attached to the anchor. This second cable can be led to the stern of the vessel and used to pull the vessel to angle against either wind or current. This enables the broadside to be aimed at the enemy when it is cut the vessel [as in this case] swings back to natural position head to wind/current.

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