Raid on Ostend


Fleet CommanderHome Riggs Popham (1762-1820)
Fleet Formed1798/05/14
Fleet Disbanded1798/05/20

ShipJoinedLeftCommander
Expedition (44) 1798/05/141798/05/20John Stiles
Blazer (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20Daniel Burgess
Terrier (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20Thomas Lowen (d.1808)
Vesuve (3) 1798/05/141798/05/20William Elliot
Crash (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20James Anderson (1765-1835), Bulkley Macworth Praed
Boxer (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20Thomas Gilbert
Acute (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20Jeremiah Seaver
Asp (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20Joseph Edmonds, Isaac Ferrieres
Furnace (12) 1798/05/141798/05/20Maurice William Suckling
Vigilant (6) 1798/05/141798/05/20 
Biter (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20John Denis De Vitre
Wolverine (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20Donald M'Dougall
Hecla (10) 1798/05/141798/05/20James Oughton
Tartarus (10) 1798/05/141798/05/20Thomas Hand
Circe (28) 1798/05/141798/05/20Robert Winthrop
Vestal (28) 1798/05/141798/05/20Charles White (d.1810)
Ariadne (20) 1798/05/141798/05/20James Bradby (d.1801)
Champion (24) 1798/05/141798/05/20Henry Raper (1767-1845)
Hebe (38) 1798/05/141798/05/20William Birchall
Minerve (38) 1798/05/141798/05/20George Cockburn (1772-1853)
Druid (32) 1798/05/141798/05/20Charles Apthorpe (1761-1804)
Harpy (16) 1798/05/141798/05/20Henry Bazely
Savage (14) 1798/05/141798/05/20Norborn Thompson
Dart (28) 1798/05/141798/05/20 
Kite (18) 1798/05/141798/05/20William Brown (d.1798), Charles Lydiard (d.1807)

DateEventSource
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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