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Destruction of the Impétueux

14th September 1806
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Action of 9th September 1806 9.9.1806
Next action : Action off Rochefort 25.9.1806


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

British Ships,
William HargoodBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1780-1837
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Bellona (74) 1760-1814
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
John Erskine DouglasBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1778-1838
Belleisle (74) 1795-1814
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
William HargoodBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1780-1837
Melampus (36) 1785-1815
British 36 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Stephen PoyntzBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1791-1812

Empire Français

French Ship
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Impétueux (74) 1803-1806
French 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
1803 Renamed "Impétueux"
Albin Joseph le Veyer de BelairFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1803-1808

Notes on Action

On September 14th, the Bellona, Belleisle, and Melampus, on the appointed rendezvous off Cape Henry, were searching for their consorts, they sighted to leeward, and gave chase to, a French 74, which proved to be one of Willaumez's ships, the Impetueux, making for the Chesapeake under jury masts. Being crippled and pursued by such superior forces, she ran herself ashore, and, upon being fired at by the Melampus, struck. She was, of course, in neutral waters, and any attack upon her was a breach of international law; yet she was taken possession of, as she lay, by the boats of the British vessels. Soon afterwards, however, when two suspicious sail appeared in the offing, Captain Hargood, as senior officer, ordered the Bellona and Belleisle to get under way, and directed Captain Poyntz to burn the prize.

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