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Destruction of the Girafe and Nourrice

1st May 1811
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Action of 1811-04-29 29.4.1811
Next action : Siege of Tarragona 5.5.1811 - 29.6.1811


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Unite (38) 1793-1858
British 38 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
1803 Renamed "Unite"
Edwin Henry ChamberlayneBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1802-1811
3 wounded
Pomone (38) 1805-1811
British 38 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Robert BarrieBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1787-1837
2 killed, 19 wounded
Scout (16) 1804-1827
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Alexander Renton SharpeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1806-1818
3 wounded

Empire Français

Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Girafe (26) 1809-1811
French 26 Gun
6th Rate Storeship
La Nourrice (24) 1792-1811
French 24 Gun
6th Rate Flûte

Notes on Action


At the end of April 1811, the flutes, Girafe and Nourrice, together with an armed merchantman, all three laden with ship timber for Toulon, lay at anchor in the Gulf of Sagone, Corsica, under a battery of four guns and a mortar, and with further protection from a martello tower mounting one gun.

On the evening of the 30th, the Pomone, 38, Captain Robert Barrie, Unite, 36, Captain Edwin Henry Chamberlayne, and Scout, 18, Commander Alexander Benton Sharpe, arrived off the coast to attack them. The French made all possible preparations, the Nourrice landing some of her guns, and troops being posted on the heights. The crews of the British ships volunteered either to land or to cut out the enemy's craft; but Barrie determined to employ the vessels, and, on May 1st, there being no wind, the two frigates and the brig were towed by their people into positions within grape range, in spite of a severe raking fire. The action began at 8 P.M., and, after about an hour and a half, the French ships burst into flames. The Pomone and consorts thereupon towed themselves out of danger, and, in a short time, the Girafe and Nourrice blew up, the battery and the tower sharing their fate. In this affair the British loss was 2 killed and 25, including Lieutenant William Neame, wounded.

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