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 British squadron in the Baltic 1808 
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Post British squadron in the Baltic 1808
During the Finnish War or (Russo-Swedish War of 1808-1809) Sweden and Britain were allies. There was at least one British squadron in the Baltic during the time. The main objective as far as the northern theatre was concerned was to prevent the Russian high seas fleet from putting to sea. This was achieved. British and Swedish ships succeeded to blockade the Russian fleet in Estonia.

Now what I am trying to find out is which British ships were in the Northern Baltic during 1808. I know that the squadron was commanded by James de Saumarez, RN (despite the name...). He was later replaced by admiral Keats, don't exactly know when but I think it was during the winter 1808/09.


Ships that I know were there at one time or other are:
HMS Victory (flagship)
HMS Centaur
HMS Implacable

Now those are all ships of the line if I'm correct. I'd like to find out names of some frigates. Is there a way? I have been looking at the Times online archive, but it costs money...


Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:50 pm
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There are a few pages in James' "Naval History" on this Baltic campaign (pp 297-305 in Vol IV of my 1902 edition). By mid or late May 1808 the British ships of the line were:

VICTORY (100) vice-adml Saumarez, Captns Hope & Dumaresq
CENTAUR (74) rear-adml Hood, Capt Webley
SUPERB (74) rear-adml Keates, Capt Jackson
IMPLACABLE (74) Byam Martin
BRUNSWICK (74) Graves
MARS (74) Lukin
ORION (74) Dickson
GOLIATH (74) Puget
VANGUARD (74) Baker
DICTATOR (64) Campbell
AFRICA (64) Barrett
plus the frigates AFRICAINE, EURYALUS, SALSETTE, TRIBUNE & TARTAR plus some sloops and gun-brigs.

On August 23 there was a combined action against the Russian fleet at Oro road. The Swedish force included 10 ships of the line (78s to 66s), CENTAUR & IMPLACABLE, and the frigates EURIDICE (46) CHAPMAN (44) CAMILLA (42) BELLONA (42) the cutter-brig DOLPHIN and a 34 gun Swedish frigate.

On August 30 VICTORY, MARS, GOLIATH & AFRICA joined the combined force off Rogerswick. James mentions that the ship-sloop EREBUS (18) and the 14 gun cutter BALTIC were made ready for use as fireships, but later restored to their normal state. The frigate SALSETTE (36) was also present. The combined blockading force withdrew in October with the onset of the Baltic winter, and the Russian fleet withdrew to Cronstadt.

There may be letters in the London Chronicle giving more detail, but I don't have access to that at present.


Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:19 am
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There's a book called Naval Wars in the Baltic During the Sailing-Ship Epoch 1522–1850 (1910) by R.C. Anderson, which might be helpful. I had a quick look through the PDF copy I have and it does mention some of the smaller ships in the section dated 1808.

I downloaded the PDF file from The Internet Archive.

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Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:59 am
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The initial contribution of the British in the Northern Baltic in 1808 consisted of two 74 gun ships, CENTUAR (Flag of Rear Admiral Sir Samuel Hood) and IMPLACABLE (Captain Byam Martin). It was these ships that destroyed the Russian VSEVOLOD 74 on 26th August, 1808, their speed enabling them to get to windward more efficiently than the Swedish ships (which were not coppered) with whom they were pursuing the Russian fleet. The latter retired into Rogerwick (Port Baltic, Rager Vik).

On the 20th August, the frigate SALSETTE 36 and the ship sloop ARIEL 16 and the brig sloop MAGNET 18 joined.
On 30th August, the VICTORY 100 (Flag of the C in C Sir James Saumarez), GOLIATH 74, MARS 74, AFRICA 64 and the brig sloop CRUIZER 16 and bomb THUNDER joined.
On 31st August, the ship sloop ROSE 16 and the cutter BALTIC joined. Other small vessels joined later.

The combined fleets blockaded Rogerwick. For a variety of reasons, no attempt was made to attack the Russians in Rogerwick apart from a few bombs tossed in and a contemplated attack with fireships which does not seem to have got anywhere.

The blockade was raised on 30th September and the combined fleet sailed for Karlskrona, the Russian ships returning to Kronstadt as soon as the door was unbarred. The greater part of the British fleet, and the C in C, then departed Karlskrona for England, arriving in the Downs on 8th December (the AFRICA having a stiff fight with Danish gunboats on the way).

A few ships were left in Karlskrona and Gothenburg for trade protection. The frigate SALSETTE 36, and the brig sloops FAMA 18 and MAGNET 18 had an unpleasant time with the last convoy for England. In company with two Swedish warships they sailed from Karlscrona on December 22nd. They ran into very bad weather with strong winds and sleet. The FAMA parted company and was wrecked on the north-east point of Bornholm Island. The convoy sought shelter off Falsterbo on Christmas Day and remained there until 6th January when they weighed and attempted to reach Malmo. Ice blocked the entrance and the Swedish warship CAMILLA 44 and six ships of the convoy went aground. The MAGNET and three other ships of the convoy grounded on the Saltholm shoal. The MAGNET was got off but ran into further difficulties in the ice, finally being run ashore west of Malmo. The teak-built SALSETTE escaped after being frozen up in the ice for more than two months.

When Saumarez departed the command in the Baltic devolved on the second-in-command, Rear Admiral Sir Richard Keats (flag in the SUPERB) whose principal area of operations was the Great Belt. Keats remained in command until the return of Saumarez in June, 1809. Keats then shepherded a convoy of 400 sail home to England.

Jenku: The above represents the British view of the 1808 campaign. The view from Sweden may be different!


Last edited by IONIA on Tue Mar 03, 2009 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Mar 03, 2009 5:03 am
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Guys,

Great help really! I am familiar with the greater events and joint British-Swedish battles/blockades. What I am particularly interested in is smaller ships that were in the area and may have been used to patrol the Åland area and/or act as dispatch vessels between the British and Swedish command. So, a frigate, corvette or brig will do. If she was in the area at the time is enough, the rest may be fiction (I promise I won't sink her!).

Oh and I think the British view isn't that different from the Swedish. There are several Swedish reports from ship's commanders stating that the British vessels were faster due to having less foul bottoms (coppar).


Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:35 am
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The following ships are listed as being deployed to the Baltic in the July 1808 edition of Steel’s Navy List:

Ships of the line
AUDACIOUS 74 Capt le Gosselin
BELLEROPHON 74 flag of Radm Gardner; Capt Rotheram
BRUNSWICK 74 Graves
CENTAUR 74 flag of Radm Sir Sam Hood; Capt Webley
DICTATOR 64 Campbell
GOLIATH 74 Puget
IMPLACABLE 74 Martin
SUPERB 74 flag of Radm Keats; Capt Jackson
VICTORY 100 flag of Radm Sir James Saumerez; Capt Hope

Frigates
AFRICAINE 38 Raggett
DAPHNE 22 Mason
EURYALUS 36 Dundas
SALSETTE 38 Bathurst
TRIBUNE 36 Reynolds
TARTAR 32 Baker


Brigs
RANGER 16 Acklom
TARTARUS 16 Russell


Gun Brigs
INSOLENT 14 J. Morris
MAGNET 14 G. Morris
MOSQUITO 14 Goate
PIERCER 14 Sibrell
PROTECTOR 14 Mitchener
REDBREAST 14 Sir G Keith
STARLING 14 Napier
THRESHER 14 Dornford
TIGRESS 12 --


Bombs
AETNA Godfrey
FURY Gibson
PROSELYTE Lyford


Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:19 am
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And a similar list for August 1809:

Ships of the line
VICTORY 100 Saumerez; Hope
ST GEORGE 98 Radm Pickmopre; Capt Hillyer
TEMERAIRE 98 Radm Dixon; Capt Clay
BELLEROPHON 74 Warren
DEFENCE 74 Ekins
EDGAR 74 Macamara
IMPLACABLE 74 Martin
MAJESTIC 74 Harvey
MARS 74 Katon
MINOTAUR 74 Barrett
PLANTAGANET 74 Eyles
SATURN 74 Cumberland
VANGUARD 74 Glynn
AFRICA 64 Bland
ARDENT 64 Honeyman
DICTATOR 64 Pearsons
RUBY 64 Williams
STANDARD Hollis
STATELY Radm Bertie; Capt Dundas

Frigates
MELPOMENE 38 Parker
OWEN GLENDOWER 36 Selby
CERBERUS 32 Whitby
TARTAR 32 Baker
NEMESIS 28 Ferris

Brigs
ALAART 18 Tillard
ARIEL 18 White
CLIO 18 Baugh
CRUIZER 18 Toker
KITE 18 James
LYNX 18 Graves
MERCURIUS 18 Renwick
ROSE 18 Mansell
ALONZO 16 Barker
AVENGER 16 White
CURLEW 16 Tancock
DILIGENCE 16 Smith
NIGHTINGALE 16 Wilkinson
RANGER 16 Acklom
SHELDRAKE 16 Thicknesse
CHANTICLEER 10 --
LEVERET 10 Crispin
PROMETHEUS 16 Forrest
TARTARUS 16 Mainwaring


Gunbrigs 12 - 14 guns

AGGRESSOR Watson
URGENT Rigby
FLAMER Sherwin
MINX le Blanc
MONKEY Fitzgerald
REDBREAST Keith
SNIPE Champion
STARLING Napier
WRANGLER Pettet
HEARTY Wickham

Bombs
EREBUS Autridge
FURY Balfour


Tue Mar 03, 2009 9:21 am
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Just a small additional biblographic reference: Captain Edward Pelham Brenton has about 9 pages on the Baltic at this period in his "Naval History of Great Britain" (pp 227-236, Vol II in my 1837 edition). His account is a very discursive one with asides and although useful for the general picture it has little detail about individual ships. Nothing to match the very comprehensive lists from IONIA and David H.

Brenton's "Naval History" is nothing like so well known as James's and copies may be hard to locate (I bought my two volumes many years ago from a local dealer in military books). Brenton's style is very different from James's and it is well known that the two men despised each other's works.


Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:08 pm
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Thanks again! Very good info!


Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:37 pm
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Post HMS NYADEN also in Baltic in 1809
I am trying to track the activity of HMS NYADEN, a 36 frigate taken at Copenhagen, and previously the HMDS Nijaden. I came across a reference to one of its officers from a much later description - indicating it was in the BALTIC in 1809:

The New Navy List Feb. 1843 by Charles Haultain
p.173
"A. Wells was Mid. of the Colossus at St. Vincent’s, and served in her boats in several attacks on the Cadiz flotilla in 1797; was Lieut. Of the Gannett at Copenhagen in 1807; was Senior of the NYADEN commanded her boats at the capture of a Russian fort and several vessels under its protection in 1809."

Anyone know anything else about the NYADEN in the Baltic, or which action this mention of a "Russian Fort" refers to?


Sun Jan 03, 2010 4:24 pm
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Hi tmoffatt,

Welcome to the SN Forum!

From the London Gazette (Issue 16291, p. 1347):

Admiralty-Office, August 26, 1809.
A LETTER has been received by the Honourable William Wellesley Pole, from Captain Cottrell, of His Majesty's Ship the Nijaden, dated in Kilduin Bay, the 6th of June last, giving an Account of the Capture or Destruction of Twenty-two or Twenty-three Vessels in the River Kola, by the Boats of the above Ship, under the Directions of Lieutenants Wells and Smith. A Fort under which those Vessels were anchored, was taken Possession of, and the Guns brought away or thrown into the River.

***

The location, the Kola river, might help you track down the name of the particular fort.

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Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:48 pm
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The references to Kilduin Bay and Kola River imply that this action took place in the White Sea/Barents Sea area of northern Russia, rather than in the Baltic.

Martin


Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:37 pm
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This enquiry touches upon a campaign which appears to have escaped the chroniclers of the Wars of the french revolution and empire.

“Naval Chronicle" Vol. 21 p. 316
“An expedition is reported to have been sent to Archangel to destroy several men of war which are building in the dock-yards at that place.”

“The Times” of 29th July, 1809 has the following:
“St.Petersburg, June 28th. Three English frigates have taken possession of Catherine Harbour, in Kola, near the Icy Ocean, and of all the stores belonging to the Company of the White Sea, consisting in salt, cordage etc. as well as some vessels loaded with corn. The garrison (?) has also been in Kola, from which place the few inhabitants had fled. These frigates are now cruising at the mouth of the White Sea. The Government has put an embargo upon all vessels in Archangel, that they may not fall into the hands of the English, who seem to have devoted their attention principally to the corn vessels from Archangel. This is the first attack of the English upon the Russian territory.”

The question of the RN's activities in North Russia in 1809 was raised in the Mariner's Mirror in 1996 but no further information was forthcoming. It does not appear to be covered in James or Clowes.


Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:14 am
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Thanks for the interesting addtional details, Peter.

It's the first time I've heard of the Company of the White Sea (sounds like something from Lord of the Rings). I'm assuming it's an entity like the HEIC?

In looking for information about the Company, I found this site: The Northern Lights Route

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Tue Jan 05, 2010 6:27 am
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Thank you for the site reference, Susan. Some interesting maps among other things.

"The Times" report from St. Petersburg is, of course, translated from Russian sources. I could not identify the company but that is not surprising as I know little of the commercial history of Russia at this period. I was struck by the name “Icy Ocean” for what I presume is the Barents Sea/Arctic Ocean.

In Lapland, Kola, oddly enough, is hard by Murmansk and Polyarnyy where the RN bases were during WW2 and Kildin Island is off the mouth of the inlet in which these ports are located and which forms the outlet of the Kola River.

There was somewhat similar naval activity by the British in the White Sea and Barents Sea during the Crimean War (they destroyed Kola) but this, also, has received little attention from historians.


Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:23 am
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