Tamar vs Républicain

25th August 1799 - 26th August 1799
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Sparrow vs Nancy 28.7.1799
Next action : Seizure of the Dutch Fleet at Nieuwe Diep 28.8.1799


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Tamar (38) Thomas Western 2 wounded

République Française

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Républicain (24) Pierre Marie Le Bozec (1769-1830) Captured 9 killed, 12 wounded

Notes on Action


On the 25th of August, in the evening, the British 38-gun frigate Tamar, Captain Thomas Western, being off the island of Surinam, discovered and gave chase to the French 28-gun frigate ("corvette de 24 canons") Républicaine, Captain Pierre-Marie Le Bosec ; but the latter, getting into shoal water, where the former, in the darkness of the night, could not follow her effected her escape. Soon after daylight, however, when about four leagues to the westward of "Orange," the Tamar descried her preceding night's acquaintance in the west-north-west. Chase was instantly given ; but, owing to the excellent sailing of the French ship, it took the British frigate until 5 h. 30 m. p.m. before she could get fairly alongside of her opponent. An animated fire then commenced ; and, after a close action of about ten minutes' duration, in which the Républicaine was reduced to a mere wreck, the latter struck her colours to the Tamar, whose damages were confined to her rigging and sails.

The Tamar, out of a complement of 281 men and boys, came off with the trifling loss of two seamen wounded ; but the loss of the Républicaine, who, having manned two American prizes, had on board only 175 men and boys out of a complement of 220, amounted to nine killed and 12 wounded.

Of the Tamar it is sufficient to say that she was a sister frigate to the Clyde, and armed like her, with 46 guns. The Républicaine, a ship of 580 tons, was precisely of the same class as the Tourterelle, Baïonnaise, and several others named in this work. Her guns were 24 long 8-pounders on the main deck, And eight brass 36-pounder carronades on the quarterdeck and forecastle.

A most decided disparity of force, therefore, existed between these combatants ; and it was rendered still more so by the circumstance that the Républicaine's eight brass carronades, from their ill-construction and awkward mode of mounting, could not be used with any effect. A similar complaint, it is true, has been urged against all the French carronades employed during the war of 1793 ; but, in no other case than the present, did they farm so large a portion of the armament. Captain De Bosec, consequently, made quite as creditable a defence as his very inferior force would permit. The Républicaine, owing probably to her age and the cost it would take to repair her damages, was not added to the British navy : indeed, there already belonged to it too many " frigates" of her insignificant class.

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