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Robert Barton

RolesNaval Sailor 
Date of Birth1753CSORN
Baptism26.10.1753 - Camden Toen, Middlesex CSORN
First Known Service1776CSORN
FatherCutts Bartonref:1683
Robert Cutts BartonBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1806-1819
Last Known Service22.7.1830CSORN

Event History

Date fromDate toEventSource
1776 Passed the Lieutenant's Examination ADM 6/87/344RNLPC
6.6.1776 LieutenantCSORN
6.11.1782 CommanderCSORN
Bustler (14) 1782-1788
British 14 Gun
Unrated Cutter
, Commander and Commanding Officer ADM 6/22/538
Hawke (16) 1793-1803
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
, Commander and Commanding Officer ADM 6/24/258
ADM 6/24
2.4.1794 CaptainCSORN
Lapwing (28) 1785-1828
British 28 Gun
6th Rate Frigate
, Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/25/25
Lapwing (28) 1785-1828
British 28 Gun
6th Rate Frigate
, Captain and Commanding Officer ADM 6/25/64
ADM 6/25
Concorde (36) 1783-1811
British 36 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
, Captain and Commanding Officer
27.1.1801 Concorde vs Bravoure 
Raisonable (64) 1768-1815
British 64 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
, Captain and Commanding Officer
Goliath (74) 1781-1813
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
, Captain and Commanding Officer
York (74) 1807-1854
British 74 Gun
3rd Rate Ship of the Line
, Captain and Commanding Officer
24.12.180726.12.1807Occupation of Madeira 
28.1.180924.2.1809Capture of Martinique 
14.4.180917.4.1809Capture of the d'Hautpoult 
12.8.1812 Rear-Admiral of the BlueCSORN
4.6.1814 Rear-Admiral of the RedCSORN
12.8.1819 Vice-Admiral of the BlueCSORN
27.5.1825 Vice-Admiral of the WhiteCSORN
22.7.1830 Vice-Admiral of the RedCSORN

Notes on Officer


At the commencement of the war with France, in 1793, this officer commanded the Hawke, of 16 guns, in which sloop he escorted a fleet of merchantmen to the West Indies.

On the 2d April, 1794, he was promoted to the rank of Post-Captain; and in the following year, we find him in the Lapwing, of 34 guns and 193 men, on the North Sea station, where he remained but a short time, and was then again ordered to afford protection to the trade bound to the colonies. On the 25th Nov. 1796, Captain Barton, then lying at St. Kitts, received intelligence that a French force, consisting of two ships of war, several smaller vessels, and 400 troops, commanded by Victor Hughes, was attacking Anguilla. He immediately weighed and proceeded to the relief of that island; but the wind blowing strong from the northward, prevented his getting up before the morning of the 27th, when he found the enemy had landed the preceding day, burnt several houses in the town, plundered the island, and committed every devastation possible, attended with acts of great cruelty. Upon the appearance of the Lapwing, they re-embarked and endeavoured to get off; which Captain Barton effectually prevented, by bringing both the men of war to close action, which lasted near two hours, when the largest, le Décius, of 26 guns and 2 brass field pieces, with 133 seamen, and 203 troops, struck her colours. She had 80 men killed and 40 wounded. La Valliante, a brig mounting 6 guns, 36 and 24-pounders, with 45 seamen and 90 soldiers, ran on shore on the neighbouring island of St. Martin’s, where she was destroyed by the fire of the Lapwing, whose loss amounted to 1 man killed and 7 wounded.

The following day Captain Barton found it necessary to burn his prize, in order to prevent her falling into the possession of two French frigates, by which he was chased on his return to St. Kitts.


For this service our officer was subsequently presented with the following address, by a deputation from the inhabitants of the latter island:

“Deputations from a whole community are not common, because it rarely happens that actions so brilliant as to excite general admiration are performed; but your success, Sir, is of a nature so glorious to yourself, so honorable to the service in which you are engaged, so fortunate and critical for the inhabitants of Anguilla, that a sister colony would be insensible not to feel, and ungrateful not to acknowledge it.

“It is not, however, by our acknowledgments or emotions that your deserts can be expressed; they are proclaimed by the tongues, and engraven on the hearts of the people you have saved; whom a merciless enemy doomed to destruction; and whom you rescued from the horrors with which they were menaced.

“These devoted people hail you as their deliverer; bless you for the security and happiness to which they are restored; and while they recite your actions, will perpetuate your name in the traditions of their country, and the memories of their children. Nor do the testimonies of your honor cease here; even your enemies bear witness to the value of your exertions, and the importance of your victory. They tell it whenever they mention their loss and disappointments, the destruction of their shipping, and the slaughter of their men. They tell it too, not indeed so loudly, but much more emphatically, whenever they mention your humanity and goodness, your care of the wounded, your anxiety for their preservation when the Décius was sinking, your endeavours and success in rescuing from the waves such as the fury of the battle had blindly driven into them. While saying this, they acknowledge that mercy and courage are the inseparable associates of noble minds, and that the honor of the union is yours.”

To this address, Captain Barton returned the following answer:

“Gentlemen.– I return you many thanks for the honor you have done me; and am happy that, in doing my duty, I have been so fortunate as to relieve the distressed. I must add, little was my share, as the whole depended on my officers and men, who I know are equally happy, and feel as much as I do, at any fortunate event that has been of any service to their King, their country, and the colonies.

“I am with respect, Gentlemen, &c.
“R. Barton”

In the course of the ensuing year, Captain Barton captured eight of the enemy’s privateers, carrying in the whole 58 guns, and 363 men. His next appointment was to the Concorde of 42 guns, and 257 men; in which fine frigate he cruized with equal success on the same station, taking and assisting at the capture of eleven more of those marauders, whose united force amounted to 90 guns, and 648 men.

Our officer returned to England in the autumn of 1799; and during the remainder of the war was employed on the Lisbon station, and at Newfoundland. On the 26th Jan., 1801, being off Cape Finisterre, he fell in with a French squadron, under M. Ganteaume, and was chased by one of his frigates; the Concorde at this time having a Swedish ship in tow, cast her off, ?nd bore away large. At day-light on the 27th, Captain Barton having drawn his pursuer a considerable distance from her consorts, was enabled to bring her to elose action, which continued for forty minutes, when the enemy’s fire was completely silenced; but the rest of the squadron had by this time approached so near to her assistance, that it was impossible for our officer to think of taking possession of his prize, especially as the Concorde had sustained considerable damage in her rigging and sails; he therefore judged it most prudent to bear up for Plymouth, to communicate the intelligence of his having fallen in with an enemy’s squadron, and its probable destination, from the course it steered. In this contest the Concorde had 5 men slain and 24 wounded. The enemy’s frigate was la Bravoure, of 42 guns and 293 men, 10 of whom, including a Lieutenant, were killed, and her Captain and 24 wounded.

In the ensuing autumn, we find Captain Barton acting as Governor of Newfoundland, from whence he returned to Portsmouth on the 29th Dec. following, after a passage of only eleven days from St. John’s.

On the renewal of hostilities in 1803, our officer was appointed to the superintendence of the Sea Fencibles, in the Isle of Wight. In the summer of the following year, he obtained the command of the Raisonable, 64; and from that ship removed into the Goliath, a third rate, in which, on the 11th and 18th Aug., 1805, he captured le Faune a French brig, of 16, and la Torche corvette, of 18 guns. On board these vessels were found 74 men, who had been wrecked some time previous in the Blanche frigate, commanded by the late Sir Thomas Lavie.

Captain Barton left the Goliath about the latter end of 1805; and from that period we find no further mention of him till the summer of 1807, when he was appointed to the York, a new 74; in which ship he accompanied the expedition under Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood and Major-General Beresford sent at the close of that year to take military possession of Madeira; and from thence proceeded to the Leeward Island station, where he arrived in time to assist at the conquest of Martinique, by the forces under Sir Alexander Cochrane, and Lieutenant-General Beckwith.

During the operations carried on for the reduction of this important colony, Captain Barton was employed with a detachment of seamen and marines on shore, under the orders of Commodore Cockbum, to whom he gave the most able support and assistance. He was afterwards present at the capture of the Isles des Saintes, and of the d’Hautpoult, a French 74-gun ship.

The York continued in the West Indies till the month of May, 1809, when she returned to England; and in the summer of that year, was attached to the Walcheren expedition, after which she joined the fleet on the Mediterranean station. Captain Barton was advanced to the rank of Rear-Admiral, Aug. 12, 1812, but has never hoisted his flag. He became a Vice-Admiral, Aug. 12, 1819.

Residence.– Burrough House, near Exeter, Devon.

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