Nominal Guns14
NationalityGreat Britain
OperatorRoyal Navy
Ship TypeGun-brig
Sunk in Action21.3.1804


DimensionMeasurementTypeMetric EquivalentBWAS-1793
Length of Gundeck98' 0"Imperial Feet29.8704 
Length of Keel71' 0"Imperial Feet21.6408 
Breadth27' 6"Imperial Feet8.2514 
Burthen286Tons BM 


3.1798Broadside Weight = 126 Imperial Pound ( 57.141 kg)BWAS-1793
Quarterdeck4 British 12-Pound Carronade
Forecastle2 British 12-Pound Carronade
Pivot Mount6 British 24-Pound Carronade
Pivot Mount2 British 18-Pounder

Crew Complement

Date# of MenNotesSource
3.179370 BWAS-1793

5 Ship Commanders

2.1798 - 6.1798Lieutenant Donald M'DougallBWAS-17936.1798 - 10.1.1799Commander Lewis Mortlock (d.1799)BWAS-17932.1799 - 1800Commander William Bolton (d.1817)BWAS-17937.1800 - 29.4.1802Commander John WightBWAS-179311.1803 - 21.3.1804Commander Henry GordonBWAS-1793

1 Commissioned Officer

18.11.1799 - 17.3.1800Lieutenant Samuel Burgess (1781-?)NBD1849

Service History

31.3.1798Began fitting at Deptford Dockyard - Deptford BWAS-1793
4.1798Completed fitting at Deptford Dockyard - Deptford BWAS-1793
5.1798coppering at Sheerness Dockyard - Sheerness BWAS-1793
14.5.1798Operations against Ostend
4.1.1799Action of 4 January 1799
12.9.1799Took the Sloop Gier (16) off Texel
15.9.1799Took the Frigate Dolfijn (24) in the Vlie
4.1802Paid offBWAS-1793


DatesFleetFleet CommanderSource
14.5.1798-20.5.1798Raid on Ostend Home Riggs Popham (1762-1820) 

Notes on Ship

Former mercantile collier Rattler


Previous comments on this page

Posted by Cy on Wednesday 15th of February 2017 14:02

Thanks Robert, very interesting

Posted by Robert Boon on Wednesday 15th of February 2017 13:37

ON the 4th of January [1799], the British bark-rigged sloop Wolverine, of 12 guns, and 70 men, captain Lewis Mortlock, being on a cruise off Boulogne, in very foggy weather, discovered two large French luggers, close to her to windward. These luggers were privateers; one the Russe, of 16 guns, and about 140 men, commanded by citizen Pierre Audibert; the other, the Furet, of 14 guns, and about 130 men, commanded by citizen Dennis Fourmentin. Captain Mortlock, judging that, if the privateersmen suspected the Wolverine to be a ship of war, they would make off, approached them under Danish colours. On being hailed by the Furet, the former replied, that he was from Plymouth bound to Copenhagen. This lugger was now close upon the starboard quarter of the Wolverine, with her bowsprit between the latter's mizen chains and side. The Wolverine instantly hoisted English colours, and opened a fire of great guns and musketry, captain Mortlock, with his own hands, lashing the Furet's bowsprit to one of the iron stanchions of the Wolverine's mizen chains. Boarding was now the only resource left to the Furet; and her people made a vigorous assault on the British vessel, but were driven back with loss. In the meantime the Russe had shot ahead, and run foul of the Wolverine on the larboard bow. Here, also, a desperate attempt was made to board; and, at one time, it required almost every man in the Wolverine
to repulse the Russe's crew. Three of the boldest of the Furet's men, taking advantage of the exposed state in which the scuffle on the Wolverine's forecastle had left the after part of the vessel, sprang on the roundhouse; and one man gave three cheers, as if to encourage those in the lugger to come on board to his support. Captain Mortlock instantly ran from forward, to dispute with this daring Frenchman the possession of his post. The latter, as the former approached, presented a pistol to his face. It missed fire; and, as he was again cocking it, captain Mortlock plunged his half-pike into the man's body, and he fell overboard. The French on board the Furet now threw into the Wolverine's cabin windows some leather bags filled with combustibles. These immediately set the vessel on fire; and a blaze burst forth directly over the magazine. While the Wolverine's people were occupied in extinguishing the flames, the two luggers took the opportunity to effect their escape. As one of them (the Furet, it is believed) was retiring, she fired a shot which mortally wounded captain Mortlock, who had previously, although he kept on deck, been wounded in the hand, in the breast, and on the loins. Giving the necessary orders to his lieutenant, this brave young officer went below, saying, “Luff, luff, keep close to them.” He soon afterwards fainted from loss of blood. The Wolverine, finding she had no chance with the luggers in sailing, on a wind especially, bore up for Portsmouth. The Wolverine had two men killed, and eight, including her commander, wounded. The latter died at Portsmouth on the 10th of the month. The loss of the privateers, as acknowledged by themselves, was rather severe. The Furet had five men killed ; her captain and five men mortally, and 10 men badly wounded: the Russe had her first and second lieutenants, another officer, and two seamen, killed; and five mortally, and several badly wounded.
The nature of the guns on board the luggers is not known; nor is it of consequence, as the affair was almost entirely a hand-to-hand struggle. Here were 70 British opposed to upwards of 250 Frenchmen; and yet the latter were compelled to retire without effecting their object. Had the two luggers kept off at long-shot, the Wolverine, from the nature of her armament, must have cut them to pieces. She was originally the Rattler, of London, measuring 286 tons; and was purchased, in order to be fitted with gun-carriages of captain Schank's invention. On the 22d of February 1798, the Wolverine, as she had then been named, was established with the following guns: six carronades, 24-pounders, four carronades, 12-pounders, and two long guns, 24-pounders; an armament that rendered her a much more formidable vessel than her appearance indicated.

The Naval History of Great Britain 1793-1820 by William James (1826) Vol 2 page 320

Posted by Tim Oakley on Saturday 31st of December 2016 10:30

19 Aug 1800 Sloop Wolverine Commander John Wight at St. Marcouf, This morning, having been informed by Captain Price, that some part of the enemy's convoy, consisting of two large sloops, were attempting to make their escape from the mouth of the river Isigny, and proceeding along shore to the eastward, giving chase, with the Sparkler12 and Force gun-brigs. The enemy could not escape, run themselves on shore in the bay of Grand Camp, commanded on both sides of the entrance by heavy batteries, which I attacked for near an hour, and was ably assisted by Lieut. Stephens, of the Sparkler, and Lieut. Tokeley, of the Force, covering Lieut. Gregory of the Wolverene, with the cutter and jolly-boat with a party of Marines, who gallantly boarded the largest vessel under the fire of three field pieces, and near 200 men with musquetry, within half pistol-shot of the shore, and set her on fire and otherwise disabled her. The other was so completely shot through as to stop her further proceedings. I am happy to have it in my power to inform their Lordships, that neither the vessels, or men suffered any thing, excepting three of the Wolverene's, who were a good deal burnt on board the sloop by an explosion of gunpowder. The enemy lost four men killed on the beach. I am, Sir, &c. John Wight.
11 Sep 1800 Portsmouth, arrived the Champion, with dispatches from Marcouf (off Cape la Hogue). On Tuesday last, in company with the Dolphin cutter, and Sparkler and Bouncer gun-brigs, drove on shore and destroyed two sloops, laden with barilla.
15 Sep 1800 off St. Marcouf, with cover provided by the Sparkler against a shore battery, the ship's boats, captured the 60 foot French lugger privateer Victoire 4 miles of the West Island, Joseph Silk, wounded by a musquet-ball in the shoulder, being the only casualty, apart from a few shot through the Sparkler's sails.

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