Raid on Ostend

Fleet Commander Home Riggs Popham (1762-1820)
Fleet Formed14.5.1798
Fleet Disbanded20.5.1798

Expedition (24) 14.5.179820.5.1798 John StilesFleet disbanded
Blazer (14) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Daniel BurgessFleet disbanded
Terrier (14) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Thomas Lowen (d.1808)Fleet disbanded
Vesuve (3) 14.5.179820.5.1798 William ElliotFleet disbanded
Crash (14) 14.5.179820.5.1798 James Anderson (1765-1835), Bulkley Macworth PraedFleet disbanded
Boxer (14) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Thomas GilbertFleet disbanded
Acute (14) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Jeremiah SeaverFleet disbanded
Asp (12) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Joseph Edmonds, Isaac FerrieresFleet disbanded
Furnace (12) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Maurice William SucklingFleet disbanded
Vigilant (6) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Fleet disbanded
Biter (14) 14.5.179820.5.1798 John Denis de VitreFleet disbanded
Wolverine (14) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Donald M'DougallFleet disbanded
Hecla (10) 14.5.179820.5.1798 James OughtonFleet disbanded
Tartarus (10) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Thomas HandFleet disbanded
Circe (28) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Robert WinthropFleet disbanded
Vestal (28) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Charles White (d.1810)Fleet disbanded
Ariadne (24) 14.5.179820.5.1798 James Bradby (d.1801)Fleet disbanded
Champion (24) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Henry Raper (1767-1845)Fleet disbanded
Hebe (16) 14.5.179820.5.1798 William BirchallFleet disbanded
Minerve (38) 14.5.179820.5.1798 George Cockburn (1772-1853)Fleet disbanded
Druid (16) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Charles Apthorpe (1761-1804)Fleet disbanded
Harpy (16) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Henry BazelyFleet disbanded
Savage (14) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Norborn ThompsonFleet disbanded
Dart (28) 14.5.179820.5.1798 Fleet disbanded
Kite (18) 14.5.179820.5.1798 William Brown (d.1798), Charles Lydiard (d.1807)Fleet disbanded

1798/05Assembled at Margate 
1798/05/14Sailed from Margate 
1798/05/19Anchored off Ostend at 1:00 AM 
1798/05/19The expedition assembled off Margate, sailed for the opposite coast on May 14th, and anchored off Ostend at 1 A.M. on May 19th. Although the weather was most unfavourable, all the troops, with the exception of those on board the Minerve, which had parted company and had not yet rejoined, were at once landed to the north-east of the town without opposition. At about 4.15 A.M., the Ostend batteries, having been alarmed, opened fire upon the nearest British vessels, the Wolverine, Asp, and Biter, and, by about 8.30, had so severely damaged the two former, that Popham signalled to them to weigh and move further out. The Hecla and Tartarus had already begun to shell the town and harbour; and, upon the withdrawal of the Wolverine and Asp, the Dart, Kite, and Harpy took their places as nearly as the fact of its then being low tide would admit. 
1798/05/19At 9.30 A.M. the Minerve rejoined; and her Commander went ashore by Popham's order to report her arrival to the general. Lieut.-Colonel Ward, with part of the First Regiment of Guards, would also have hastened on shore from the Minerve, had he not been stopped and dissuaded while on his way by the prudent counsels of Captain James Bradby, of the Ariadne. 
1798/05/19The lock gates and sluices, together with several gunboats, are said to have been destroyed by the troops at 10.20 A.M.; but at noon, when it was sought to re-embark, the weather was found to render the attempt perfectly hopeless. The British had, in consequence, to remain; and, being attacked on the 20th by the French in force, they were obliged, after they had lost 65 killed and wounded, to capitulate. Among those who surrendered was Commander Mackellar, of the Minerve. It is doubtful whether the objects to be attained justified the risks involved in this unfortunate expedition; it is still more doubtful whether those objects were attained, for the French deny the fact; and it is certain that, whether the objects were attained or not, the troops ought never to have been landed at a time when every indication went to show that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to re-embark them until after the lapse of some days. 



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