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César (1803)
Career (France) Civil and Naval Ensign of France
Name: César
Acquired: August 1803 by purchase
Captured: July 1806
Career (UK) Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom
Name: HMS Cesar
Acquired: By capture July 1806
Fate: Wrecked March 1807
General characteristics [1]
Type: Brig
Tons burthen: 320 (bm);[1] 208 7494 (by calc.)
Length: c.88 ft (27 m)
Beam: c.23 ft (7 m)
Complement: 86 at capture[2]
Armament: 18 guns at capture[2]

César was a mercantile brig that the French Navy purchased at Bordeaux in 1803. The Royal Navy captured her in July 1806 and took her into service, but she was wrecked in early 1807.

Capture and fateEdit

In July 1806, a squadron under Lord St. Vincent's was off Ushant. On 14 July the boats of the squadron were taken by Iris to Captain John Tremayne Rodd in Indefatigable off Rochefort to attack two French corvettes and a convoy at the entrance to the Garonne. The weather on 15 July appeared suitable for the attempt but after the boats left a strong wind blew up and although they managed to capture the corvette Caesar they could not prevent the convoy escaping up river. The French were expecting the attack and put up a strong resistance. The British lost six men killed, 36 wounded and 21 missing. Indefatigable alone lost two killed and 11 wounded. Polyphemus had two men lightly wounded.[2] The 21 missing men were in a boat from Revenge; a later report suggested that most, if not all, had been taken prisoner. The majority of the boats were either shot through or so badly stove in that they were swamped, and had to be cut adrift from the brig as she was brought out under fire from the batteries and the ex-British Teaser brig.[2] The vessels claiming prize money included Pilchard and the hired armed lugger Nile, in addition to the various ships of the line and frigates.[3] This cutting out expedition resulted in the participants qualifying for the Naval general service Medal with clasp "16 July Boat Service 1806".[4]

Caesar, of 18 guns, had a crew of 86 men according to her roster, and was under the command of lieutenant de vaisseau Louis François Hector Fourré. She was five years old, coppered, 88' by 23', and "appears fit for His Majesty's Service", according to Rodd.[2] The Royal Navy took her into service as the brig HMS Cesar.[1]

Cesar was driven ashore near the Gironde in March 1807.[5] The crew, except for 45 men, perished.[6]

Citations and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Winfield (2008), p.319.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 The London Gazette: no. 15941. pp. 949–951. 29 July 1806.
  3. The London Gazette: no. 16070. p. 1270. 22 September 1807.
  4. The London Gazette: no. 20939. p. 246. 26 January 1849.
  5. Hepper (1994), p.119.
  6. James (1837), Vol. 4, p.466.
  • Hepper, David J. (1994). British Warship Losses in the Age of Sail, 1650-1859. Rotherfield: Jean Boudriot. ISBN 0-948864-30-3. 
  • James, William (1837). The Naval History of Great Britain, from the Declaration of War by France in 1793, to the Accession of George IV.. R. Bentley. 
  • Winfield, Rif (2008). British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793–1817: Design, Construction, Careers and Fates. Seaforth. ISBN 1861762461. 

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