Action of 1814-01-16

16th January 1814
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Surrender of Cattaro 5.1.1814
Next action : Action of 1814-01-18 18.1.1814


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Venerable (74) James Andrew Worth (d.1841)Fleet Flagship 2 killed, 4 wounded
Cyane (22) Thomas Forrest (d.1844), Gordon Falcon (1777-1854) none
Jason (22) Thomas Moffatt (d.1731)

Empire Français

Ship NameCommanderNotes
L'Alcmene (40) Alexandre Louis du Crest de Villeneuve (1777-1852)32 killed, 50 wounded Captured
L'Iphigenie (40) Léon Emeric Captured 4 days later

Notes on Action


On October 20th, 1813, the French 40-gun frigates Iphigenie, Captain Jacques Leon Emeric, and Alcmene, Captain Alexandre Ducrest de Villeneuve, had left Cherbourg for a six months' cruise. They had subsequently made several prizes on the west coast of Africa and off the Canary Islands. They were still cruizing off those islands when, on January 16th, 1814, they fell in with the Venerable, 74, Captain James Andrew Worth, Cyane, 22, Captain Thomas Forrest, and Jason, 2, a privateer prize, Lieutenant Thomas Moffat. The Venerable carried the flag of Rear-Admiral Philip Charles Calderwood Durham, who was on his way to take charge of the Leeward Islands station. When the Cyane had reconnoitred and reported, the Venerable went in chase, and, towards evening, got within hail of the Alcmene, which was the leewardmost of the two frigates. As the French ship would not answer him, Worth opened with such guns as would bear, where-upon Villeneuve pluckily put his helm up, and, under all sail, laid the 74 on board. Villeneuve, no doubt, expected to be supported by Emeric, but the latter lost no time in hauling sharp up, and so left his colleague at Worth's mercy. After a brief struggle, in which, nevertheless, the Alcmene lost 32 killed, and 50, including Villeneuve, wounded, the Frenchman's colours were struck by a boarding party headed by the Venerable''s Captain. The British had but 2 killed and 4 wounded.

In the interval the Cyane and Jason had gone in chase of the Iphigenie.

The Jason outsailed her consort, and at 10 P.M. had the temerity to begin firing into the frigate with the only two guns which were on board. It was nearly three hours later when the Cyane drew close enough to co-operate; and, by about 4.30 A.M. on the 17th, she began to realise that her opponent was too big for her, and to drop astern. Forrest soon afterwards despatched the Jason in search of the flagship, and himself continued after the frigate, which, though she did her best with guns as well as with sails, failed to shake him off. The chase was, in fact, persisted in until the evening of the 19th, when the Venerable was fast coming up. In vain did Emeric cut away his boats and anchors. The 74 over-hauled him at 8 A.M. on the 20th, and having once fired her starboard broadside for form's sake, the Iphigenie struck, before she had lost a man. The Venerable and the Cyane also escaped casualties, and even the bold little Jason had no one hurt. Both prizes were added to the Navy.

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