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Terpsichore vs Vestale

13th December 1796
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Terpsichore vs Mahonesa 13.10.1796
Next action : Blanche vs Ceres 19.12.1796


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Terpsichore (32) 1785-1830
British 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Richard BowenBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1790

République Française

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Vestale (32) 1780-1799
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
 30 killed , 37 wounded Captured
La Vestale (32) 1780-1799
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
  Captured 30 killed, 37 wounded

Notes on Action


The Terpsichore, Captain Richard Bowen, chased the French Vestale, 36, Captain Fourcaud, off Cadiz. 3 On the 13th the Frenchman hove to, and waited for the Terpsichore, which came up at 11.30 P.M. and began a hot action in stormy weather. At 1.20 A.M. the Vestale, with all her masts and her bowsprit tottering, struck. Her mizenmast fell just after her surrender; and, before the British boats could reach her, her mainmast, foremast and bowsprit followed.

The high sea and strong wind prevented the Terpsichore from placing an adequate crew on board the prize, or transferring the prisoners, and, on the 14th, the Vestale's men rose on the British party, recaptured the ship, and reached Cadiz. For this action the gallant Bowen received no warm commendation from Sir John Jervis, and no reward from the country. The merchants of London gave him, however, a piece of plate.

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