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 Hargood (1762-1839)
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Bellona (74) John Erskine Douglas (1758-1847)
Belleisle (74) William Hargood (1762-1839)
Melampus (36) Stephen Poyntz (d.1847)

Empire Français

French Ship
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Impétueux (74) Albin Joseph le Veyer de Belair (1765-1825) Burnt

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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